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
The interior of the 2010 Kia Rio is fairly comfortable, but if there are four adults on board, it's best to keep your trips rather short. In front the seats are quite good, and there's even impressive rear headroom and legroom in back. Edmunds confirms that "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."
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." "Legroom even in the outer positions is marginal when the front seat is moved appreciably rearward," says Cars.com, adding that "the hard rear seatback is reclined too far for true comfort.” In the case of either model, Kelley Blue Book warns that the center position in back isn’t tremendously useful as "the center occupant straddles a tunnel."
Trunk space is impressive, too, and in the Rio5, a fairly large cargo area tucks beneath the hatchback. According to Cars.com, "Increased exterior dimensions translate to more interior capacity in the five-passenger Rio,” most of it in the cargo area. ConsumerGuide points out the rear seat doesn't lie flat; instead, "it rests above the level of trunk floor, and the opening is cramped." Kelley Blue Book notes that the backseat release "is awkwardly placed toward the center of the seats," and the "trunklid hinges dip into the load area." And looking back toward the storage provided in the passenger cabin, while a fold-down armrest is standard for the driver in the 2010 Kia Rio, Edmunds would "prefer a more traditional center console box that provides this feature for both front occupants along with handy storage space."
The 2010 Kia Rio sees mixed reviews in looking at the appearance and feel of cabin materials. 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." Edmunds points to “some cheap plastic trim,” and thinks that the quality of materials “is generally above average, though some trim isn't up to Honda levels."
The downside is that their ride can be somewhat pitchy on certain types of freeway surfaces, and Rio SX models have different tire and suspension settings, aimed at producing a sportier feel, that also bring more road noise into the cabin. Across the model line, engine noise can be an issue; it's obtrusive during acceleration and when cruising at higher speeds. Edmunds is the only source to deem it tolerable, reporting that "at 75 mph, the cabin is hushed." 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.” But Kelley Blue Book explains that while "the engine gets seriously buzzy when accelerating, it quiets nicely at speed." Cars.com says the engine “emits considerable buzz and blare when pushed hard." Road noise appears to be nicely isolated, with Edmunds reporting that "at 75 mph, the cabin is hushed."
Although the engine is a little loud and unsophisticated when worked and cabin materials are a little skimpy, the 2010 Kia Rio is impressive for such an inexpensive car.