Kia Rio hatchback

Price  £10,345 - £17,445

Kia Rio hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Cheap to run
  • Long warranty
  • Spacious interior
  • Vague steering
  • Dated interior
  • Rather slow

At a glance

The greenest
1.1 CRDI 1 EcoDynamics 5dr £12,245
The cheapest
1.25 1 3dr £10,345
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, free of the fear of unexpected repair bills.”

The Kia Rio is an attractive, spacious and well made small car that's a convincing alternative to established rivals including the class-leading Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio. It's very economical and its light controls means it's easy and relaxing to drive around town. It cruises comfortably on motorways and main roads, too, but push a little harder and its vague steering begins to spoil the experience. The Ford Fiesta is a much more entertaining car to drive.

There are three and five-door versions. Those extra doors add around £500 to the Rio's price, but in addition to making the model more practical, they make it more desirable as a second-hand car. Power comes from a choice of petrol and diesel engines.

The 1.1-litre CRDi is the most economical. It does an astonishing 88.3mpg and produces CO2 emissions of just 85g/km, meaning there's no road tax to pay. However, the petrol engines are also quite frugal, the 1.25-litre achieving an impressive 56.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 114g/km.

A choice of six trim levels brings rising amounts of equipment. Fortunately, the Rio is quite well equipped as standard, with electronic stability control, multiple airbags, steering wheel-mounted controls and a split-folding rear seat. Top-specification versions have black leather trim, 17-inch alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights.

The Rio feels much more grown-up and refined than its predecessor. The cabin has plenty of soft-touch plastics, smart finishes and tough trim. Underway, it's reasonably quiet, with road and wind noise being fairly well suppressed. Four adults will be genuinely comfortable in the Rio's spacious interior. Legroom in the rear is especially impressive, and there's enough shoulder room for it not feel too intimate. There's ample storage space, too, particularly in the glovebox, which could take a large hat and scarf with room to spare.

Kia has sufficient confidence in the quality of its cars to offer a seven-year/100,000-mile warranty. That should reassure private buyers intending to keep their cars for several years, free of the fear of unexpected repair bills.

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

2.7 / 5

The Kia Rio has one notable omission - a DAB digital radio which is increasingly a standard feature on competitors

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

3.7 / 5
based on 3 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.”
What owners say 
4.1 /5 based on 27 reviews
 people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
24 Nov 2014

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