Kia Rio Review logo

Kia Rio Review

Car image
Car image
Car image
Car image
Car image
Car image
Car image
Car image
Car image
Car image
Car image

1/10

Car image

2/10

Car image

3/10

Car image

4/10

Car image

5/10

Car image

6/10

Car image

7/10

Car image

8/10

Car image

9/10

Car image

10/10

1 / 10

heycar review

      Launch year
      2017
      Body type
      Small hatch
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Reliable, dependable, short on excitement

Best bits

  •  Well equipped across the range
  •  Keen pricing and fine warranty
  •  1.0-litre petrol engine adds a touch of fun

Not so great

  • Ride quality in town a little too firm
  • The 1.25-litre petrol motor feels dated
  • Anonymous image next to some rivals

Read by

Kia Rio (2017) right exterior

Overall verdict

Kia Rio (2017) front interior

On the inside

Kia Rio (2017) frontleft exterior

Driving

Kia Rio (2017) left exterior

How much does it cost to run

Kia Rio (2017) front exterior

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict on the Kia Rio

"Like so many reality television stars, Kia has been on a journey over the past few years and the Rio that arrived in 2017 throws this into sharp relief. Where so many of Kia’s cars are now among the sharpest-suited in their classes and unafraid to break with convention – Stinger, XCeed, ProCeed anyone? – the Rio is the counterpoint to all of this."

Kia Rio (2017) right exterior

Does that make the Rio boring and all Captain Sensible? Well, yes, but that’s no bad thing when all you want is a very reliable, dependable and, well, sensible supermini. The fact it comes with a superb warranty, good engines, plenty of equipment and keen pricing is all to the good as well.


Cost-effectiveness is at the core of the Rio’s being and economy is strong, with almost every engine officially capable of more than 60mpg. Go for a diesel when buying used and the claimed figures rise upwards of 80mpg, but the real highlight is the 1.0-litre T-GDI petrol. It’s punchy, quiet and economical whether you pick it the 100PS or 120PS version.


The Rio is very easy to drive, with light, smooth controls. Around town it’s good for the most part, but the suspension does have a tendency to thump over potholes. Fortunately, things get smoother and more comfortable at higher speeds with refinement good on the motorway.


Inside, the Kia Rio is nicely finished, with sturdy build quality and a clear and intuitive layout. The centre stack features a responsive 5.0-inch touchscreen system if you skip the basic ‘1’ trim level, while the dials are simple and easy to read. There’s plenty of adjustment in the driver’s seat too.


Kia has also attempted to spritz up the Rio a bit with the GT Line trim that arrived in early 2018 and then the GT Line S. The GT Line comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, gloss black and chrome snout that Kia refers to as a ‘tiger nose’ and LED front lights. Okay, so it’s no hot hatch to take on the Ford Fiesta ST, but the GT Line does add a modicum of pizzazz to what is, we’ll grant you, a very worthy but somewhat dull line-up.


As small hatchbacks go, practicality is good. There’s enough space in the back for a couple of adults, with surprising levels of hat room and - unless there are tall occupants up front - decent leg room too. The boot is sizeable with 325 litres of capacity, beating the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo.


It might not have the all-round classiness and capability of the SEAT Ibiza or the dynamic sparkle of the Ford Fiesta, but the Rio is a very capable hatchback that does everything well enough. Factor in the seven-year warranty and it's a sound buy. 


Is the Kia Rio right for you?

To get a measure of how many people reckon the Kia Rio is just right for them, consider this: it’s the biggest-selling model of a company that is ranked third in the world for the number of cars it produces. Kia churns out Rios by the thousand and many people love them.


Why do they love them? Simple, really. The Rio demands very little of its owner yet repays your trust in it with unerring reliability, ease of use and a level of equipment you’ll find hard to match for the money elsewhere in the supermini class.


The fact the Rio is decent to drive, comfortable, refined, safe and has engines that are good to use all add to its appeal. So, if you are in the market for a Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa or Volkswagen Polo, stop and take stock of the Rio – it might just be the car for you that you’ve just not yet considered.


What’s the best Kia Rio model/engine to choose?

There are plenty of engine options for the Kia Rio, but we’d recommend the 100PS T-GDI petrol. It has a decent 171Nm of torque from 1500-4000rpm, so there’s lots of low-down punch to help with overtakes and slip roads, plus it’s very quiet and has official economy of more than 60mpg.


It works very well with the Rio whether in town, on the motorway or on a country road. It’s also available with 120PS, but there’s not much need to pick that version, since the 100PS option is such a good all-rounder.


There is also 1.25-litre petrol engine, but if you want a diesel you’ll have to look for one in the used market as Kia has dropped the 76- and 90PS 1.4-litre turbodiesels from the line-up. This is not especially surprising when they were very slow sellers and just plain slow.


What other cars are similar to the Kia Rio?

Kia’s biggest threat for the Rio comes from its sister company Hyundai with its i20 that was introduced in mid-2020. Not only is it a newer car with improved tech, it also comes with a good warranty and is very good to drive.


In the supermini sector, you can never discard the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa or Volkswagen Polo from your deliberations. You should also give thought to the Peugeot 208, SEAT Ibiza and Renault Clio, as well as the MINI and Audi A1 if you want a bit of posh.


Learn more

Kia Rio (2017) front interior

On the inside

Kia Rio (2017) frontleft exterior

Driving

Kia Rio (2017) left exterior

How much does it cost to run

Kia Rio (2017) front exterior

Prices, versions and specification

Mon-Fri 9am-6pm |
Sat & Sun 9am-5pm
Email us at:
hey@heycar.co.uk
Our customers say
“Excellent”
heycar Trustpilot
Copyright 2021 heycar - All rights reserved |
Registered address: 5 New Street Square, London, United Kingdom EC4A 3TW
Copyright 2021 heycar - All rights reserved