Considering the Rio's low price, the driving experience is surprisingly good, with a peppy feel in most respects. The Rio handles reasonably well, brakes seem strong, and there's enough gumption from the powertrain for most driving, aside from high-speed passes.
The Rio's 110-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine might not sound so impressive, but because the Rio is such a light car, it's plenty. The Rio feels sprightly enough for most types of driving—especially in the city—especially with the five-speed manual gearbox (although the linkage can feel imprecise). A four-speed automatic is also available, and while the gaps between gears can be quite wide, the combination feels better than some peaky engines that have one more gear to work with.