Kia Rio hatchback

Price  £10,345 - £17,445

Kia Rio hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Comfortable ride
  • Seven-year warranty
  • Spacious and solid interior
  • No turbocharged petrol
  • Dull handling
  • Pretty slow

At a glance

The greenest
1.1 CRDI 1 EcoDynamics 5dr £12,245
The cheapest
1.25 1 3dr £10,345
The fastest
1.4 2 ISG 5dr £13,645
Top of the range
1.4 CRDI 4 EcoDynamics 5dr £17,445

"The Kia Rio's long warranty should reassure private buyers intending to keep their cars for several years that there won't be any unexpected repair bills."

The Kia Rio is a spacious, comfortable, dependable and well equipped supermini that's available in three and five-door body styles. Its rivals include the upmarket VW Polo, good-looking Peugeot 208, roomy Hyundai i20 and that brilliant all-rounder, the Ford Fiesta. That's tough competition, but the Rio is no pushover, being a stylish and impressively complete package that's also cheap to run – all for a fair purchase price.

It's powered by a choice of small petrol and diesel engines. The most economical is the 1.1-litre CRDi, which in basic 1 trim without air-conditioning, can return almost 86mpg and attracts no road tax. It's available only as a five-door model. However, it's slow and noisy, so the more powerful 1.4-litre CRDi may be more to your liking, especially since it still manages 74mpg.

It's the same story with the petrol engines: the smaller 1.25-litre is the most economical (57mpg) but lacks the larger 1.4-litre's extra performance, which is especially welcome when overtaking and for relaxed motorway cruising.
However, both petrol engines are definitely livelier and quieter than their diesel counterparts.

Four adults can sit comfortably in the Rio's roomy cabin. The five-door costs around £500 more than the three-door, but its additional practicality and enhanced resale prospects on the used market are well worth the premium. Certainly, access to the rear seats, which are split-folding, is easier in the five-door.

Regardless of the body style chosen, passengers will enjoy good leg and shoulder room once they’re installed. The cabin trim feels reasonably upmarket and there are plenty of storage cubbies and pockets dotted about.

The Rio's quite firm suspension encourages you to push on through corners, but it's not uncomfortable. What can hold you back, however, is the steering, which feels light and imprecise.

The amount of standard equipment is impressive and includes body-coloured trim, DAB digital radio, steering wheel-mounted controls, front electric windows, a height-adjustable driver's seat and split-folding rear seats.

There are six trim levels, ranging from Rio 1 to Rio 4 (in between are Rio 1 Air and Rio SR7). Our pick is Rio 2 for its smart 16-inch alloy wheels, upmarket interior trim and air-conditioning.

The Rio was awarded the full five stars by crash-safety body, Euro NCAP. Equipment-wise, it wants for little, with all versions having anti-lock brakes with emergency braking assistance, electronic stability control, hill-hold control and multiple airbags.

Find out what we think is the best small car by watching our video below.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.7 / 5

The Kia Rio benefits from insurance groups as low as three for the CRDi 1.1, rising to eight for the 1.4 petrol and diesel models.

Engines, drive & performance

3.2 / 5

The Kia Rio’s 1.1-litre diesel engine’s impressive fuel consumption comes at a price, with 0-62mph taking 15.5 seconds

Interior & comfort

3.3 / 5

The Kia Rio interior is well equipped and straightforward, but not very stylish

Practicality & boot space

3 / 5

There’s plenty of room for people in the front and rear of the Kia Rio, but this has come at the expense of boot space

Reliability & safety

4.1 / 5

The Rio finished an impressive fifth overall in the Driver Power 2014 owner satisfaction survey, behind the BMW 5 Series and a trio of Skodas

What the others say

3.5 / 5
based on 4 reviews
4 / 5
“The Kia Rio benefits from smart looks, roomy dimensions, a high-quality interior and an appealing engine range.”
3 / 5
“The Kia Rio feels impressively grown-up for a supermini, but it's nowhere near as comfortable or as agile as a Ford Fiesta.”
4 / 5
“Although a Kia Rio is on par with competitors in terms of list price, Kia dealers are usually willing to do a deal, so buyers could pick up a bargain.”
6 / 10
"Rio is a sensible choice. It looks better, drives more ably and is now not too boring to be considered."
What owners say 
4 /5 based on 30 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
16 Jun 2015
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