Kia Rio Review

Kia Rio

The Kia Rio range...

List Price

£12,940 - £20,990

Acceleration (0-62mph)

9.8 - 12.7 seconds

Top speed

107 - 118 mph

Engine Power

83 - 118 bhp

CO2 Emissions

102 - 124 g/km

Fuel Economy (Combined)

52.3 - 62.8 mpg

Prices & Specification

Spacious interior, fantastic fuel economy and good value for money


Not the most exciting car to drive, petrol engine lacks power

Reliable, roomy and refined, the Kia Rio has emerged on the market as a serious contender amongst its super-mini rivals. This could be the time for the Polo, Fiesta, Yaris and Clio to move over and make way for Kia’s new offering; their fifth new car in the past 18 months comes with great expectations and every likelihood of living up to them. With an attractive and contemporary look, a solid and roomy interior, space for long legs in the front and back, the Kia Rio comes with an array of added extras, safety features and economical advantages. Not exciting, maybe – but if you are seeking reliability and comfort along with value for money, peace of mind and easy driving, this could well be your answer.


The Rio offers an appealing engine range - two diesel (1.1 and 1.4 litre) and two petrol (1.25 and 1.4). Of the two diesel options, the 1.4 is the liveliest; although the 1.1, three cylinder engine is undeniably cost efficient with a stated 88mpg. Of the four choices, though, the petrol 1.4 is the ‘Mr Reliable’ and, coupled with a six-speed gearbox, it assures a reliably good performance, accelerating from 0-62 mph in 11.1 seconds and maintaining a steady performance in town and on motorways.


The Rio driving experience would not be described as exciting, but the car does provide a reliable and stress-free ride. Whilst it is slightly let down by its steering, which feels a tad unrewarding, this is adequately compensated for in its agility in town, its confident negotiation of twists and bends on minor roads, and its assured comfort on motorways.  The Rio’s forgiving suspension adequately handles the lumps and bumps of the British road system; and, unusually in a model of this size, the car manages to exclude much exterior noise, ensuring an unexpectedly quiet journey particularly when motorway cruising.


Sleek, suave and streamlined, when it comes to looks this Kia Rio has really come of age.  With a dramatic roof profile along with its distinctive front grille and prominent front lights it still says ‘Kia’, but no longer ‘Korea’; the Renault Clio, Peugeot 207, VW Polo and other super-mini rivals, may just have to start taking this new kid on the block more seriously than they would like.


Both front and back areas of the car offer a very decent level of comfort in terms of leg and headroom and support. The driver’s seat is adjustable, so no worries whether you are at the long or short extreme of the average driver profile; and there is ample room in the back for two adults to travel comfortably, or three children or teenagers (if that’s really what you want...). At 288 litres, (less than the Fiesta but up on the Corsa) boot space could be better (particularly if you have those teenagers with you), but the added bonus is the rear seats’ facility to fold down providing an extra 35 litres.  There is generous glove-box space – and the general finish inside the car is pleasingly stylish.


The new Kia Rio comes in four trim grades – ‘1’, ‘1 air’, ‘2’ and ‘3’. The basic kit includes electric front windows, 15 inch steel wheels, modern connectivity, contemporary audio equipment  - with air conditioning added by an upgrade to the imaginatively named  ‘1-air’.  Added extras coming with ‘2’ trim include 16 inch alloys, rear electric windows and a cooling glovebox; and if you opt for the ‘3’, you will find 17-inch alloys, privacy glass, rain-sensing wipers, heated front seats and six speakers amongst the goodies added to the mix.


The Kia Rio achieved a five star rating its Euro NCAP test. All trims come with six airbags and stability control, ABS, emergency brake assist (EBA), electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) and Emergency Stop Signalling. Seat belt pre-tensioners are in there too; this car feels good and, all in all, with this serious array of features, it comes up trumps on the safety front.

Buying & Owning4.5/5

Kia has set a precedent for itself with a reputation for giving good value for money and reliability. There is no reason to expect anything different from the Rio; the smaller of the diesels, 74bhp, is the cleanest non-electric car in the world, emitting just 85g/km of CO2, making it both green and tax-exempt.  If it lives up to its claim of 88mpg, this model is well worth considering for economic reasons alone; even the beefier 1.4 litre petrol model offers 51.4 mpg and is just £95 to tax. Don’t forget Kia’s standard seven-year warranty which not only helps with your peace of mind, but is not to be ignored when (if) it comes to selling on. Kia offers a £259 service package for the first three services; so this is a wallet-friendly and, for the cost conscious or cash strapped buyer, a logical choice.

Reviewed by cars2buy