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2014 Kia Rio Photo
7.4
/ 10
TCC Rating
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Reviewed by Bengt Halvorson
Deputy Editor, The Car Connection
BASE INVOICE
$13,646
BASE MSRP
$13,900
Quick Take
The 2014 Kia Rio holds its own in a tough class of smart, efficient subcompacts -- and pulls ahead of the pack if value and style are top priorities. Read more »
Decision Guide
Opinions from around the Web
Styling
Performance
Quality
Safety
Features
Mileage

Unique C-pillar treatments aside, the Kia appears to be the sportier of the two compacts and the most European in execution.

Autoblog »

This is the next big hit for Kia's "design-led transformation" philosophy of product development, which emphasizes dramatic styling to change customer perception. The Rio's front looks sporty and aggressive, while the rear has the look of a stylish European hatchback.

Edmunds »

the car unmistakably aspires toward -- and achieves -- a premium European aesthetic.

Automobile »

All things said, it looks like the product of some serious Optima and Sportage canoodling.

Kelley Blue Book »
Pricing and Specifications by Style
$13,900 $18,090
MSRP $13,900
INVOICE $13,646
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4-Door Sedan Manual LX
Gas Mileage 27 mpg City/37 mpg Hwy
Engine Regular Unleaded I-4, 1.6 L
EPA Class Compact Cars
Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity 5
Passenger Doors 4
Body Style 4dr Car
See Detailed Specs »
7.4 out of 10
Shopping for a new Kia Rio?

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Choose a Style Below for Colors and Options
STYLE INVOICE MSRP
2014 Kia Rio 4-Door Sedan Manual LX
4-Door Sedan Manual LX
Regular Unleaded I-4, 1.6 L
Front Wheel Drive
$ 13,646 $ 13,900
2014 Kia Rio 4-Door Sedan Automatic LX
4-Door Sedan Automatic LX
Regular Unleaded I-4, 1.6 L
Front Wheel Drive
$ 14,508 $ 15,000
2014 Kia Rio 4-Door Sedan Automatic EX
4-Door Sedan Automatic EX
Regular Unleaded I-4, 1.6 L
Front Wheel Drive
$ 16,041 $ 16,800
2014 Kia Rio 5-Door HB Automatic LX
5-Door HB Automatic LX
Regular Unleaded I-4, 1.6 L
Front Wheel Drive
$ 14,598 $ 15,090
More Styles »

The Basics:

The 2014 Kia Rio has never been among the top-selling subcompacts, but there are fewer and fewer reasons it shouldn't be. The latest iteration offers crisp, stylish European design; a point-perfect interior that's clean, functional, and far above economy-car standards; and agreeable, fuel-efficient powertrains. If we had to pick a single reason to put the Rio on the shopping list for budget-priced small cars, though, it'd be the snappy exterior styling.

For sure, the Rio five-door hatchback has more swagger than the four-door sedan--but the sedan isn't homely, and that's saying something among subcompacts. As good as it gets outside, the Rio's interior seems even better: some throwback details look to the best of the 1980s econoboxes, down to the toggle switches for climate controls, but but it's all better in both form and function, with some versions including a big LCD touch screen.

The 138-horsepower, 1.6-liter in-line direct-injection four-cylinder engine, which is indeed the same engine as in the similar Hyundai Accent, powers the Rio with just enough gusto. It revs smoothly up its powerband and is mostly muted, and you'll find either the six-speed manual or six-speed automatic to be an equally good ways to manage how the power gets to the wheels. Overall, the Rio stays very composed when driven either gently or at whatever the engine can deliver. It handles remarkably well for a small, inexpensive hatchback with a basic strut and torsion-beam suspension and a short wheelbase.

The interior is a little tighter on space than other subcompacts, but pleasing trims and materials and reasonably good cabin refinement keep it more cheerful than the other choices. By the numbers, the Rio sports a 101.2-inch wheelbase, has an overall length of about 160 inches, and offers up a cargo area of 15 cubic feet (or 13.7 cubic feet in the trunk, for sedan models). Good front seats, with relatively long bottom cushions cushions for the class and long seat travel should help bring enough comfort for the commute. The sporty Rio SX models get more seat bolstering--and it's mild enough here where no one's really going to object to the addition. In back, it's definitely more confining than in the Honda Fit, or even the Versa Note; with the front seats near the back of their travel (for an average-to-taller driver) you won't have any rear knee or foot space to space in back; and headroom is on the tight side.

In safety, the 2014 Rio isn't all cheers, but it looks squarely middle-of-the-road compared to other models in this class, when considering the crash-test ratings it's been given, and its level of standard equipment. It's a four-star performer in federal testing, and the usual dual front, side, and curtain airbags are standard, as are anti-lock brakes and stability control, as well as hill-start assist. A rearview camera is an option--and also recommended, since the five-door Rio has some notable blind spots at the rear pillars.

Even in its base editions, the 2014 Kia Rio offers a lot of features for the money. Base Rio LX sedans and hatchbacks start at around $15,000 and include air conditioning, a USB port, and satellite radio. On hatchbacks you also get 15-inch wheels, a rear spoiler standard, tilt steering, steering-wheel audio controls, and split-folding rear seatbacks. Features included in the sporty Rio SX versions include 17-inch wheels, sport suspension tuning, larger front brakes, fog lamps, and power-folding heated side mirrors, and LED taillamp and headlamp accents; options on the SX include a navigation system (that replaces the UVO system), pushbutton start, leather seats, heated front seats, and a sunroof.

Likes:

  • Sharp, Euro-styled exterior
  • On-point cabin
  • Smooth drivetrain
  • Features for the money

Dislikes:

  • Tight cabin
  • Small back seat
  • Adequate, but not quick
  • Steering feel -- or lack thereof
Next: Interior / Exterior »

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