2021 Kia Rio

MSRP $15,850

Ranked #1 in Subcompact Sedan

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2021 Kia Rio Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: July 6, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The 2021 Kia Rio sedan is one of the great options in the economical subcompact sedan territory. The 2021 Rio comes with some minor exterior changes with redesigned front and rear styling. The interior also gets very slight changes and the infotainment system is also updated for the 2021 model. The 2021 Kia Rio sedan starts at an MSRP of $16,050 and is offered in two trim options. The Kia Rio looks graceful from the inside with a minimal interior design that looks very classy for the segment. 

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Pros

Graceful interior design

Solid built for the price

Good balance of ride and handling

Cons

Limited rear-seat space

The Cargo area is on the lower side

Missing some basic safety tech

What's New?

Redesigned front and rear fascia

Updated infotainment system

Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$15850

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

top speed

117 mph

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

displacement

98 cu.in.

horsepower

120 hp @ 6300 rpm

torque

112 lb.-ft. @ 4500 rpm

transmission

5 speed manual w/OD

dimensions

wheelbase

101.6 in.

length

172.6 in.

width

67.9 in.

height

57.1 in.

curb weight

2767 lbs.

ground clearance

5.5 in.

capacity

passenger volume

89.9 cu ft.

cargo volume

13.7 cu ft.

towing capacity

9500 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

8.2 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

16.5 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

33/37/41 mpg

highway range

487.9 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

1 yr./ 10000 mi.

powertrain warranty

12 yr./ 100000 mi.

corrosion warranty

5 yr./ 100000 mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

LX$15,850 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 Kia Rio in Silky Silver color
Silky Silver

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Pricing and Feature

8.0

Pricing and Features

9.0

Engine and Performance

7.0

Fuel Economy

9.0

Interior

9.0

Exterior

8.0

Safety

9.0

Competition

8.0

Final Verdict

8.4

8.1

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

8.1

Overall Rating


The 2021 Kia Rio sedan offers a good balance of ride and handling for the segment. The refined ride is one of the strong points of the 2020 Kia Rio. The 2021 Kia Rio sedan is powered by a 1.6L Naturally Aspirated Inline-4 engine, and it competes against the Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Accent, and Honda Civic.

2021 Kia Rio Sedan front view
2021 Kia Rio Sedan rear view

7.0/10
Engine and Performance

9.0/10
Fuel Economy

9.0/10
Interior

8.0/10
Exterior

9.0/10
Safety

8.0/10
Competition

8.4/10
Final Verdict


2021 Kia Rio Features

The Kia Rio sedan comes in two trim options. The base trim LX starts at an MSRP of $16,050 and gets the basics right for the price. There are not many advanced features offered with the base LX trim, and you do not even expect much at this price. The LX trim gets 6-way power-adjustable driver’s seats, a day-night rearview mirror, low tire pressure warning, and an updated 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. 

Trim

LX

S

MSRP(CVT)

$16,050

$16,690

Key Features

6-way adjustable driver's seat

In addition to the Base trim:

 

Day-Night Rearview Mirror

Cruise Control

 

Low Tire Pressure Warning

Remote Keyless Entry

 

8-inch Touchscreen Display

Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist

 

Android Auto and Apple Carplay

Supervision Meter Cluster

The upgrade to the 2021 Kia Rio sedan S trim gets you some advanced features like cruise control, remote keyless entry, 60/40-split folding rear seat, Sliding center armrest, and supervision meter cluster. The fact that even the better equipped S trim comes at an MSRP of $16,690, makes the 2021 Kia Rio a great choice for the money. 

We recommend

Our obvious recommendation for the Kia Rio sedan is going for the S trim. Although the base LX trim offers a decent feature list for the price, the S trim gets you many useful features without much of a price difference. The 2021 Kia Rio S trim offers a great build quality for the price, a good balance of ride and handling, a graceful-looking cabin, and a decent feature list under $20,000, making it a compelling choice.

2021 Kia Rio Engine and Performance

7.0/10

The Kia Rio sedan is powered by a 1.6-liter naturally aspirated inline-4 engine that is also shared by the 2021 Hyundai Accent. The engine produces 122 horsepower and 112 lb-ft of torque. The engine is adequately powerful for city driving conditions. The 112 lb-ft of torque is available in the lower end of the rave range at 2500 rpm. The engine is mated to a continuously variable transmission which comes with electronic precision shifts. The CVT transmission does a great job of keeping you in the right rave band at all times.

2021 Kia Rio Sedan charging port

The power is adequate for city conditions, but the engine feels at a higher speed on the highways. There is not much performance in the top end of the rave band. The good part is that acceleration is very good, and it takes 8.2 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour from a standstill. The quarter-mile sprint takes 16.5 seconds, which is again impressive for the segment.

Models

2021 Kia Rio Sedan

2021 Toyota Corolla

2021 Hyundai Accent

2021 Honda Civic

MSRP

$16,050

$20,025

$15,395

$21,250

Engine

1.6L Naturally Aspirated I-4

1.8L Naturally Aspirated I-4

1.6L Naturally Aspirated I-4

2.0L Naturally Aspirated I-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

CVT

CVT

CVT

CVT

Power (hp @ RPM

120 hp @ 6300 

139 hp @ 6100 

120 hp @ 6300 

158 hp @ 6500

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)

112 lb-ft @ 2500 

126 lb-ft @ 3900

113 lb-ft @ 4850

138 lb-ft @ 4200

0-60 MPH (seconds)

8.2

8.9

8.5

8.9

Quarter-Mile (seconds)

16.5

17.4

16.7

17.0

Top-Speed (MPH)

117

115

124

124

The 2021 Kia Rio sedan has lower power and torque figures than the competitors in the segment. Still, it outperforms all the competitors when it comes to real-life acceleration, and is the fastest to reach 60 mph in 8.2 seconds. The 2021 Toyota Corolla does the same in 8.9 seconds, the 2021 Hyundai Accent takes 8.5 seconds, and the 2021 Honda Civic also takes 8.9 seconds.

How well does the 2021 Kia Rio Sedan handle?

Handling is one of the strongest points of the Kia Rio sedan. It is very easy to maneuver in the city due to its compact dimensions. The sedan feels agile to drive and loves to change the lanes. The steering wheel is light and points accurately where you want it to go. The feedback from the steering wheel is okayish and has the scope for improvement. Still, it is one of the best handling subcompact sedans in the segment for handling.

The suspension does a great job of absorbing the rough patches on the road and feels very comfortable for most parts. The ride feels mature and refined, which is good for the segment. The stability is well managed and it doesn’t feel bouncy at higher speeds. The body roll is also contained very well and gives good confidence while pushing the 2021 Kia Rio in corners.

How good is the braking performance of the 2021 Kia Rio Sedan?

The 2021 Kia Rio sedan offers good braking performance, which adds to the handling of the subcompact sedan. The 2021 Kia Rio uses 11-inch brake rotors for the front wheels and 8-inch brake rotors for the rear wheels. The rotors are good enough in size, and the fact that the 2021 Kia Rio sedan weighs 2,767 lbs makes it one of the lighter subcompact sedans. Combining the capable brake rotors and lightweight of the 2021 Kia Rio helps it stop at 119 feet from 60 mph to a standstill. The brakes offer a good bite on the pedal, which inspires confidence while driving.

2021 Kia Rio Sedan brake rotor

Models

2021 Kia Rio Sedan

2021 Toyota Corolla

2021 Hyundai Accent

2021 Honda Civic

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

11

10.8

11

11.1

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

8

10.2

10.3

10.2

Curb Weight (lbs)

2.767

2,840

2,623

2,771

60-0 (feet)

119

119

119

106

The 2021 Kia Rio sedan, the 2021 Toyota Corolla, and the 2021 Hyundai Accent take the same distance to stop from 60 mph to a standstill. The 2021 Toyota Corolla is heavier than the Kia Rio, but it uses larger 10.2-inch rotors for the front wheels. The 2021 Hyundai Accent also uses larger 10.3-inch rotors for the front wheels. The fastest subcompact sedan to come to a halt from 60 mph in the comparison is the 2021 Honda Civic, as it takes only 106 feet.

2021 Kia Rio Fuel Economy

9.0/10

The Kia Rio sedan is one of the best in its segment for fuel economy. The subcompact sedan delivers an impressive 33 mpg in the city, 41 mpg on the highway, and 36 mpg in combined driving conditions. The CVT transmission and linear power delivery really help the 2021 Kia Rio to deliver such impressive fuel economy figures. When you combine these fuel economy figures with an 11.9 gallons fuel tank, you get a pretty good range for your long journeys. The fuel tank is not the largest of the lot, but a better fuel economy compensates for that very well.

Models

2021 Kia Rio Sedan

2021 Toyota Corolla

2021 Hyundai Accent

2021 Honda Civic

MPG (City)

33

30

33

30

MPG (Highway)

41

38

41

38

MPG (Combined)

36

33

36

34

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

11.9

13.2

11.9

12.4

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)

392/487/425

409/502/448

392/487/425

310/466/380

The 2021 Toyota Corolla offers the best range, as it comes equipped with the largest 13.2 gallons fuel tank in the comparison. The 2021 Kia Rio sedan and the 2021 Hyundai Accent manage to come second, as they both share the same engine and fuel tank capacity. The 2021 Honda Civic comes at last even though it has a slightly larger fuel tank than the Kia Rio sedan, and a similar fuel economy to the Toyota Corolla.

2021 Kia Rio Interior

9.0/10

Simplicity is the key when it comes to the interior of the Kia Rio sedan. The interior looks very elegant to the eyes and offers one of the finest qualities in the segment. There is no way you can guess that it is the cabin of a car that costs $16,050. The materials used inside the cabin are of good quality. The cabin is well put together and there are no build issues inside the cabin. The front row feels spacious enough for the driver and an adult to sit comfortably without a lack of space. However, the rear seats feel a bit cramped and it is not the best place for adults. 

2021 Kia Rio Sedan front seats

Models

2021 Kia Rio Sedan

2021 Toyota Corolla

2021 Hyundai Accent

2021 Honda Civic

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

38.9/54.1/42.1

38.2/53.2/41.9

38.9/54.2/42.1

39.3/57/42.3

Rear Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

37.4/53.3/33.5

36.8/50/34.4

37.3/53.7/33.5

37.1/55/37.4

Trunk Capacity (cubic feet)

13.7

13.1

13.7

14.7

The 2021 Honda Civic offers the best legroom in both front and rear rows. It also offers the best trunk capacity in comparison. The other three subcompact sedans are somewhat similar when it comes to space. The 2021 Toyota Corolla offers the smallest trunk in the comparison. The 2021 Kia Rio sedan has a lot to offer for the price, and there is nothing much to complain about, considering the price of the car. Here are some of the standout interior features of the 2021 Kia Rio sedan:

  • Graceful interior design
  • Spacious front row
  • 60/40-split folding rear seat
  • Sliding center armrest
  • 6-way adjustable driver's seat

What’s there to keep you entertained in the 2021 Kia Rio Sedan?

The Kia Rio sedan gets an updated 8-inch touchscreen display for the infotainment system. The updated infotainment system also gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. The touchscreen is very intuitive and easy to use. The controls are very easy to navigate and all the features are easily accessible. The graphics of the touchscreen also look very straightforward.

The audio comes via a 6-speaker system that produces decent quality audio. The connectivity options include Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM satellite radio. There are ample USB ports for charging your devices on the go. The USB ports for rear seats come with the S trim only, and you do not get the same in the base LX trim. Here are some of the standout infotainment features of the 2021 Kia Rio sedan:

  • 8-inch touchscreen display for the infotainment system
  • Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • 6-speaker audio system
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • SiriusXM satellite radio
  • USB charging ports

2021 Kia Rio Exterior

8.0/10

The Kia Rio sedan is a simple yet stylish-looking subcompact sedan in the segment. The 2021 model gets a redesigned front and rear fascia, making the exterior of the car even more appealing. The tiger-nose grille becomes even narrower now and enhances the simplicity of the sedan. 

The 2021 Kia Rio sedan looks very proportionate in its overall appearance, and it doesn’t feel like an elongated version of the Kia Rio hatchback. The 2021 Kia Rio gets halogen headlights at the front, but buyers get an option to upgrade for the LED headlights. The Kia Rio sedan gets 15” alloy wheels as standard across the trims. You also get optional 16” alloy wheels with the 2021 Kia Rio Sedan.

2021 Kia Rio Sedan 

Models

2021 Kia Rio Sedan 

2021 Toyota Corolla

2021 Hyundai Accent

2021 Honda Civic

Curb Weight (lb)

2.767

2,840

2,623

2,771

Length (inches)

172.6

182.5

172.6

182.7

Width (inches)

67.9

70.1

68.1

70.9

Height (inches)

57.1

56.5

57.1

55.7

Ground Clearance (inches)

5.5

5.1

5.6

5.2

Wheelbase (inches)

101.6

106.3

101.6

106.3

The 2021 Honda Civic is the longest subcompact sedan in the comparison, and it also has the widest body of all. However, the wheelbase remains the same for the 2021 Toyota Corolla and the 2021 Honda Civic. The 2021 Honda Civic also looks very proportionate from the outside. The dimensions for the 2021 Kia Rio Sedan and the 2021 Hyundai Accent remain almost identical. Here are some of the standout exterior features of the 2021 Kia Rio sedan:

  • Auto on/off halogen headlights
  • Available LED headlights
  • 15” alloy wheels
  • Power side-view mirrors
  • Heated Rear Glass
  • Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers

2021 Kia Rio Safety

9.0/10

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) are yet to crash-test the 2021 Kia Rio sedan. The competitors offer better standard safety tech and driver assistance features. Still, the Kia Rio sedan comes with the good build quality for the segment. You also get all the basic safety and driver assistance features.

The features like Vehicle stability management, Electronic stability control, Driveline traction control, Low tire pressure warning, and Rear child safety locks come as standard. You also get cruise control with the S trim. The advanced available driver assistance features include forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking. Here are some of the safety features of the 2021 Kia Rio sedan:

  • Vehicle stability management
  • Driveline traction control
  • Low tire pressure warning
  • Rear child safety locks
  • Forward-collision warning
  • Automated emergency braking

2021 Kia Rio Competition

8.0/10

2021 Kia Rio Sedan vs. 2021 Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla is an established name in the subcompact sedan segment. The Toyota Corolla costs around $4,000 more than the 2021 Kia Rio sedan for the base trim of both cars. The Toyota Corolla offers better space and a bigger engine under the hood. However, the 2021 Kia Rio sedan offers better acceleration, better fuel economy, better cargo area, and costs less than the 2021 Toyota Corolla. If we compare the price to performance ratio, the 2021 Kia Rio sedan becomes a better pick between the two.

2021 Toyota Corolla

2021 Kia Rio Sedan vs. 2021 Hyundai Accent

The 2021 Kia Rio sedan and Hyundai Accent are very identical in specs and mechanicals. The price difference is also not that much, and they are almost at similar price points. The 2021 Kia Rio offers a better cabin and fuel efficiency. It is also marginally better than the Hyundai Accent in acceleration. Everything else remains the same, and the 2021 Kia Rio sedan comes out as a better option. 

2021 Hyundai Accent

2021 Kia Rio Sedan vs. 2021 Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is the most expensive subcompact sedan in the comparison. It justifies its price with better space in all the rows and also offers a better trunk capacity. The cabin is also more premium and the driving dynamics can not be matched by other sedans in the segment. The price difference makes the 2021 Kia Rio sedan a better option if you are looking for a better value. But if you can spend more and want a more reliable and spacious option, then the 2021 Honda Civic is better any day.

2021 Honda Civic

 

2021 Kia Rio Final Verdict

8.4/10

The Kia Rio sedan becomes a very easy recommendation, considering the value that it offers. You get an elegant cabin, proportionate design, better fuel economy, and acceleration under $20,000. The mature and refined ride quality and sporty handling make it a good choice for your daily commute. You can never go wrong with the 2021 Kia Rio sedan, as it offers a great package for the price.

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