Comfort and Quality » 7
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QUALITY | 7 out of 10
the materials quality is generally above average, though some trim isn't up to Honda levels
front occupants get ample space on supportive and well-cushioned seats
Kelley Blue Book
ride comfort is another plus
Overall, most reviewers note that the 2009 Kia Rio offers plenty of interior space and remarkably good materials quality.
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. And while a fold-down armrest is standard for the driver in the 2009 Kia Rio, Edmunds would "prefer a more traditional center console box that provides this feature for both front occupants along with handy storage space."
In the rear, "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. 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." 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. Woe to the person in the middle, warns Kelley Blue Book, because "the center occupant straddles a tunnel."
According to Cars.com, "Increased exterior dimensions translate to more interior capacity in the five-passenger Rio. The 2009 Kia Rio's trunk is now 11.9 cubic feet." 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," observes Kelley Blue Book.
When it comes to fit and finish, the 2009 Kia Rio gets mixed reviews. 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." According to ConsumerGuide, "most cabin surfaces are hard plastic, and padded surfaces are pretty much out of the question." The reviewer admits, however, that "Rio equals some costlier cars for materials and assembly quality."
Engine noise in the 2009 Kia Rio is something of a problem. The engine can get loud in the Rio while being brought up to freeway speed; it becomes a smooth cruise afterward. As Kelley Blue Book explains, "the engine gets seriously buzzy when accelerating, it quiets nicely at speed." "The engine emits considerable buzz and blare when pushed hard," complains Cars.com. Car and Driver gripes that the four-speed automatic produces "a grinding sound at highway speeds, not our soundtrack of choice to accompany five-hour journeys." Edmunds, however, reports that "at 75 mph, the cabin is hushed."
The 2009 Kia Rio could use more rear seat space—but most passengers will be comfortable.