Kia Rio review

Category: Small car

Section: Costs & verdict

Available fuel types:petrol
Available colours:
Kia Rio 2020 RHD infotainment
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  • Kia Rio 2020 RHD front tracking
  • Kia Rio 2020 RHD rear tracking
  • Kia Rio 2020 RHD dashboard
  • Kia Rio 2020 RHD rear seats
  • Kia Rio 2020 RHD infotainment
  • Kia Rio 2020 RHD right panning
  • Kia Rio 2020 RHD narrow front tracking
  • Kia Rio 2020 RHD front right static
  • Kia Rio 2020 RHD rear left static
  • Kia Rio 2020 RHD boot open
RRP £13,395What Car? Target Price from£12,955
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Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

At first glance the Rio seems good value when compared with the likes of the Skoda Fabia, Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio, but only the least recommendable engine and trim combination actually undercuts them on price.

In fact, we’d opt for at least ‘2’ trim in order to get the 1.0-litre turbocharged engine, although this does push the price up.

All engines offer good fuel economy, and the smaller, turbocharged units return the best results of the range. None can match the official figures returned by the equivalent Ford Fiesta, though. The equivalent engines of the Fiesta and Fabia both have lower official CO2 emissions, too, which means those rivals will cost less in company-car tax if you’re looking for a small car as a business user.

Equipment, options and extras

Opt for entry-level ‘1’ grade and you get air-conditioning, front electric windows, heated electric door mirrors, Bluetooth phone connectivity , automatic lights and a multi-function steering wheel. In light of that model not giving you AEB, though, we suggest moving up to ‘2’ trim, which is our favourite Rio trim level. Doing so also gives you alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel and gear knob, rear electric windows, electric folding mirrors, cruise control and the 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system we mentioned earlier. At the top of the ‘normal’ trims is ‘3’. This adds bigger alloys, climate control, faux leather seats that are heated up front, plus a heated steering wheel, automatic wipers and the connected features described in the infotainment section. 

There’s also the choice of two sportier-looking models, the GT-Line and GT-Line S. GT-line broadly corresponds with ‘2’ trim, and adds cosmetic interior tweaks such as carbon-fibre styled fascias and aluminium pedals. GT-Line S offers the equipment upgrades you get with ‘3’ trim, as well as a sporty D-shaped steering wheel.

Kia Rio 2020 RHD infotainment

Reliability

The Rio didn’t feature specifically in the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, but Kia finished a strong 6th out of 31 manufacturers as a brand, above Skoda, Ford and Volkswagen. 

If things go wrong with your Rio, you have the peace of mind that its warranty is valid for an industry-leading seven years or 100,000 miles. If you sell the car within this period, you can transfer the warranty to the next owner, too.

Safety and security

The entry-level ‘1’ trim is the only Rio trim level that doesn’t include automatic emergency braking (AEB) and lane departure warning. As a result, safety experts Euro NCAP gave it only a three-star rating. That rating is increased to the full five stars on ‘2’ trim and above, which has these vital systems as standard. You can also add them to ‘1’ trim by opting for the reasonably priced safety pack. All models get six airbags and hill-start assist. 

Experts Thatcham awarded the Rio four stars (out of five) for resisting theft, and only three stars for resisting a break-in – both results are lower than most rivals’ scores.

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Overview

The Kia Rio is a promising small car with price on its side, while its turbocharged engines are perfectly competent both around town and at faster motorway speeds. It’s a shame the entry-level trim does without AEB, but higher trims offer much more for your money. However, rivals such as the Ford Fiesta ride much better and are overall more fun to drive.

  • Well equipped
  • Spacious rear-seat space and boot
  • Refined petrol engines
  • Fidgety ride in town
  • So-so handling
  • Average security rating

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