Shopping for a new Kia Rio?
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QUALITY | 7 out of 10
Ride comfort is another plus
drivers north of 6 feet tall may get fidgety after more than an hour behind the wheel
Front occupants get ample space on supportive and well-cushioned seats
Kelley Blue Book
For such a small vehicle, the 2008 Kia Rio delivers good interior room, with better-than-expected materials.
The Rio Kia seats five, and "seat comfort is very good for most body types, though drivers north of 6 feet tall may get fidgety after more than an hour behind the wheel," Edmunds says. Additionally, "the back seat headroom is a bit tight for 6-footers," though legroom is "fully adequate and the tall bench provides good thigh support," according to Edmunds.
However, some reviewers found legroom is a problem for backseat passengers. Cars.com states, "Legroom even in the outer positions is marginal when the front seat is moved appreciably rearward"; additionally, "the hard rear seatback is reclined too far for true comfort" in the Kia Rio. Kelley Blue Book concurs, saying that the "front seats are roomy and comfortable in the Kia Rio, but the rear seat is hard and reclines excessively." But woe to the person in the middle, warns Kelley Blue Book, because "the center occupant straddles a tunnel." And while a fold-down armrest is standard for the driver in the 2008 Kia Rio, Edmunds would "prefer a more traditional center console box that provides this feature for both front occupants along with handy storage space."
According to Cars.com, "Increased exterior dimensions translate to more interior capacity in the five-passenger Rio. The 2008 Kia Rio's trunk is now 11.9 cubic feet." With the LX trim, this expands, "thanks to the 60/40 split-folding rear seat," states Kelley Blue Book, which also notes "a dashboard slot that can hold a parking ticket, plus a hook that can carry a purse." ConsumerGuide points out the rear seat doesn't lie flat; instead, "it rests above the level of trunk floor, and the opening is cramped." Other storage problems include the release, which "is awkwardly placed toward the center of the seats," and the "trunklid hinges dip into the load area."
When it comes to fit and finish, the Kia Rio gets mixed reviews. According to ConsumerGuide, "most cabin surfaces are hard plastic, and padded surfaces are pretty much out of the question." They admit, though, that "Rio equals some costlier cars for materials and assembly quality." Edmunds says "the materials quality is generally above average, though some trim isn't up to Honda levels"; they specifically complain about "some cheap plastic trim."
Many reviewers consulted by TheCarConnection.com found that engine noise is a problem with the Rio Kia. The engine can get loud in the 2008 Kia Rio while being brought up to freeway speed; it becomes a smooth cruise afterward. "The engine emits considerable buzz and blare when pushed hard," complains Cars.com. Kelley Blue Book concurs, but notes that even though "the engine gets seriously buzzy when accelerating, it quiets nicely at speed," and Edmunds says "at 75 mph, the cabin is hushed." But Car and Driver complains that the four-speed automatic produces "a grinding sound at highway speeds, not our soundtrack of choice to accompany five-hour journeys."
The 2008 Kia Rio provides a comfortable seating area for most passengers, although backseats could use improvement in head- and legroom, as well in seat comfort.