Kia Rio hatchback

Price  £10,345 - £17,445

Kia Rio hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Generous seven-year warranty
  • Impressively spacious
  • Rides comfortably
  • Rivals are better to drive
  • Unconvincing performance
  • Petrol engines are a bit old fashioned

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 is a spacious and economical supermini that majors on a comfortable ride. The seven-year warranty gives great peace of mind, too.”

If you’re after a supermini that majors on space, comfort and value for money, then the Kia Rio could well be the car for you. You can have it with either three or five doors and it's equally stylish with either. The peace of mind afforded by Kia's standard seven-year/100,000-mile warranty adds an extra layer of temptation, too. 

It is, however, competing in a very talented class. The Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia and Vauxhall Corsa are all impressive cars and the Rio doesn’t in any way disgrace itself against them. 

You have a choice of a variety of small petrol and diesel engines. If ultimate economy is your number-one concern, then you’ve got to go for 1.1-litre CRDi diesel. It only comes in very basic ‘1’ trim, which means very few creature comforts. It's also noisy and slow, so while fuel economy of nearly 86mpg is impressive, we reckon it's worthwhile going for the more powerful (and smoother) 1.4-litre diesel. This will still return 74mpg.

It's a similar story if you’d prefer a petrol. The smallest – a 1.25-litre four-cylinder – is the most economical, but again it's slow and noisy, making the 1.4-litre more appealing. It's here that Kia is really lacking a small, turbocharged petrol engine like Ford's EcoBoost, which provides a fantastic combination of performance and economy.

Whether you go for the three or five-door version of the Rio, you’ll find there's plenty of space inside, while the boot's a decent size and shape, too.

Despite the car's reasonably firm suspension, it's never uncomfortable and body lean is well controlled in corners. The steering does, however, lack the accuracy of the best in the class. 

You also get a decent amount of standard equipment, with DAB digital radio, electric front windows and Bluetooth phone connectivity standard across the range. Our favourite, however, is the Rio 2, which adds luxuries like 16-inch alloys and air-conditioning.

Safety won’t be a concern, as the Kia comes with plenty of kit, including anti-lock brakes, stability control, traction control and several airbags. This was validated by Euro NCAP's decision to award the car the full five stars.

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 
3.9 /5 based on 22 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
22 Dec 2015
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