Used Kia Rio 2017-present review

Category: Small car

Section: What is it like?

Kia Rio
  • Kia Rio
  • Kia Rio
  • Used Kia Rio 17-present
  • Used Kia Rio 17-present
  • Used Kia Rio 17-present
  • Used Kia Rio 17-present
  • Kia Rio interior
  • Kia Rio
  • Kia Rio
  • Kia Rio
  • Used Kia Rio 17-present
  • Used Kia Rio 17-present
  • Used Kia Rio 17-present
  • Used Kia Rio 17-present
  • Kia Rio interior
  • Kia Rio

What's the used Kia Rio hatchback like?

Kia has been making waves among shrewd car buyers for a number of years now. The brand has done this by offering people cars that compare very favourably with more established rivals by providing lots of standard equipment at a competitive price. 

But the trump card for used buyers could be Kia's exceedingly long manufacturer's warranty, which helps to make a compelling argument for why you might choose this Kia Rio over small hatchback rivals such as the Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Fabia.

For the post-2021 facelifted car, the Rio gets a choice of petrol engines: a pair of new 1.0-litre turbocharged three-pot petrols making 99bhp or 118bhp (the latter being available for the first time as a 48-volt mild-hybrid), and a cheaper 1.2-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol with 83bhp.

Diesel engines were discontinued for the car's 2018-model-year, and so only very briefly figured in the fourth-generation car. Both manual and seven-speed twin-clutch automatic gearboxes are on offer in the latest Rio, depending on the selected engine.

The entry-level 1 has air conditioning and Bluetooth connectivity, but the 2 version is a better buy because it adds 15in alloy wheels, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance. GT-Line comes with most of the features of 2 but adds bigger (17in) alloys and sportier styling both inside and out. Heated front seats and steering wheel, faux leather trim, climate control, sat-nav, rain-sensing wipers and 16in alloys come as standard on 3. Finally, GT-Line S models come with keyless entry and start, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and blindspot detection.   

To drive, the Rio is safe and sensible. You won’t be having a barrel of laughs, but the manual gearbox is slick to use, the steering is light around town and weights up progressively as speeds build, and the car feels stable on the motorway. Road noise can be quite loud over rougher roads, but even on smoother surfaces, the Rio isn’t as quiet as the Polo. The ride is firm around town, although this improves on faster roads.

The Rio is rather roomy up front with plenty of leg and head room. You may find yourself occasionally rubbing shoulders with your passenger, but this is still a small car after all. Storage for odds and ends is impressive because there are many cubbies in the door cards, centre console and dashboard. You'll find more rear passenger accommodation than a Skoda Fabia, plus a more generous boot than a Renault Clio and Ford Fiesta. One mild criticism is that you don't have a variable height floor and will, therefore, have to lug items over a significant lip.

If you're interested in buying a used Kia Rio, or any of the other cars mentioned here, check out our used car classified site here. 

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Kia Rio