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SAFETY | 7 out of 10
Four stars overall; four stars frontal impact; five stars side impact
'Good,' frontal impact
The back-up camera that showed what was behind as I backed up was helpful, but it was part of a $1,000 optional convenience package on the EX.
Rear visibility is somewhat compromised by a thick C-pillar and a high rear trunk, but the rear camera featured on our test vehicle helped us cope with the consequences.
The 2014 Kia Rio looks squarely middle-of-the-road in safety, compared to other models in this class, when considering the crash-test ratings it's been given, and its level of standard equipment.
The usual dual front, side, and curtain airbags are standard, as are anti-lock brakes and stability control, as well as hill-start assist. Bluetooth is available, and a feature we recommend for safer driving. A rearview camera is an option--and also recommended, since the five-door Rio has some notable blind spots at the rear pillars.
In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) testing, the Rio has earned a four-star rating overall, with four and five stars in frontal and side impact testing, respectively. And while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) hasn't issued results in most categories of testing--including the tough new small overlap frontal impact test--it's given its top 'good' rating to the Rio for frontal impact protection.
The federal testing did include a few cautionary notes. During side impact testing, they noted intrusion at the left rear door, in which the interior door panel struck the torso of the rear passenger dummy--to a level at which it could have resulted in thoracic injury.
Safety scores are reasonably good, and a rearview camera and Bluetooth are among the options on the Rio.