Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Kia Rio hatchback - Engines, drive & performance (2017-2023)

The Kia Rio is a competent performer but it's not as fun to drive as some rivals

Carbuyer Rating

3.4 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.6 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.0 out of 5

The latest Rio certainly benefits from its revised engine range compared to the old model, which was noticeably lagging behind rivals in performance terms by the time it was replaced. The only trouble is that, like so many other areas in which the Rio has improved, it still doesn’t come close enough to the class leaders in terms of driver enjoyment.

Kia Rio petrol engines

The 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine is a great fit for the Rio. The 99bhp version can power the car from 0-62mph in 10 seconds, while the 118bhp version takes 9.8 seconds, making those two the quickest in the line-up. The engine sounds good and feels punchy, but sadly it isn’t as flexible as any of the equivalent 1.0-litre engines in the Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo.

The Rio’s rivals from the Volkswagen Group, namely the Polo, SEAT Ibiza and Skoda Fabia, also offer buyers a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol, and this is a quieter and more refined option than the Rio’s 1.0-litre, too. Both versions of the 1.0-litre engine come with a six-speed manual gearbox whereas the 1.2-litre engine makes do with a five-speed manual transmission, confirming that it's not really intended for motorway driving.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The average Rio buyer is unlikely to be eyeing up epic trips on the UK’s best driving roads as they pull out of the dealership, but it’s still a shame the Rio isn’t more fun to drive. The Ford Fiesta is excellent in this respect, and even the latest Nissan Micra is more engaging than the Rio. The Rio suffers from very dull steering and on the move it can’t match either the agility of the Fiesta or the ride quality and comfort of the Polo. Its light steering is best suited to urban driving, where it makes the Rio easy to park and manoeuvre.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Top 10 best used small cars 2024
The best used small cars hero 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best used small cars 2024

Top 10 most reliable cars 2024
The most reliable cars header
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 most reliable cars 2024

Top 10 best new cars under £20,000
Best new cars under £20k
Best cars
20 Sep 2023

Top 10 best new cars under £20,000

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s best PCP finance offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
21 Jun 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s best PCP finance offers

New Audi e-tron GT now has 912bhp in RS Performance guise
Audi RS e-tron GT front quarter
News
17 Jun 2024

New Audi e-tron GT now has 912bhp in RS Performance guise

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on
Engine warning light
Tips and advice
12 Jun 2024

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
Best electric cars
Best cars
16 May 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024