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You'll Like The 2010 Kia Rio If...

Frugal-minded buyers should be impressed by the 2010 Kia Rio5, which yields a nice balance between fuel economy and performance. If you like a subcompact that's more fun to drive than some cars in its league, maneuvering with a smooth, certain spirit, the Rio5 is worth a closer look.

You May Not Like The 2010 Kia Rio If...

If you frequently carry passengers in the backseat, note that they might lack knee space unless the front seat is positioned well forward. The little 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine does emit considerable noise during harder acceleration.

What's New

For 2010, the Rio5 receives a new front end treatment, keeping it inline with the new face of Kia. Changes include a new grille, headlamps and bumper, as well as full body-colored front and rear bumper and color-keyed side moldings. An "EcoMinder" fuel economy indictor light is made standard on all automatics, while Bluetooth, cruise control and integrated side mirror turn signals join the options list.

Interior Features

Five passengers can fit into the Rio5, but longer-legged folks might not be comfortable in back. Rear head- and foot-room are adequate, but the rear seat is hard, reclines excessively and the center occupant must straddle a tunnel. Front occupants get ample space on sufficiently cushioned, adequately supportive seats. Cargo space totals 15.8 cubic feet, growing to 49.6 cubic feet when the 60/40-split seat is folded down. Helpful extras include a dashboard slot that can hold a parking pass, plus a hook that can carry a purse.

Exterior Features

Although the Rio was designed in South Korea, its appearance is European-influenced according to Kia, imparting a sporty and youthful character into an entry-level automobile. The 2010 Kia Rio5 has a tuned suspension and a wide track aimed toward producing a more enjoyable road experience. A new tabbed grille sits between sizable headlights. Foglamps and a rear spoiler are standard on the Rio5, which rides on standard 15- or available 16-inch alloy wheels.

Driving Impressions

Ride comfort and easy maneuverability head the list of Rio5 merits. Even when the pavement gets troublesome, Kia's suspension absorbs considerable roughness. Steering is light, but the Rio5 is delightfully nimble in urban environments, tracks adeptly on straightaways, is easy to guide into turns and doesn't lean as much as expected in the corners. Performance is no more than adequate with the mannerly automatic transmission. Although the engine gets seriously buzzy when accelerating, it quiets nicely as speed levels off. Unobstructed visibility is helped by a low cowl and sizable rear glass.

Pricing Notes

The 2010 Kia Rio5 LX's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts just over $14,500, while a loaded SX tops out just under $17,000. Before you set out to buy your new Rio5 be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price, which shows the typical transaction price paid for the Rio5 in your area. The Chevrolet Aveo hatchback runs nearly $2K less than the Rio5; the Toyota Yaris in base two-door hatchback form costs about $1,500 less. The Scion xD and Honda Fit are slightly more expensive even when similarly equipped. Kelley Blue Book expects the Rio5 to hold only an average resale value over time, well behind the segment leaders from Honda Toyota and Scion, but not as far behind the Hyundai Accent and Suzuki SX4.

Notable Equipment

The LX features a complement of six airbags (front, front side-impact and side curtains), anti-lock brakes (ABS), eight-way adjustable driver's seat, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary and USB input jacks, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, a 1.6-liter engine, five-speed manual transmission, body-colored bumpers, auto-off headlamps, rear defroster, variable wipers, a tilt steering wheel, tachometer, dual sun visors with vanity mirrors, dual cup holders and air conditioning. The SX adds fog lamps, red-stitched gray sport seats, 15-inch alloy wheels, metal pedals with rubber inserts and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

Notable Options

Available options include a Power Package that adds power locks, windows and heated mirrors, remote keyless entry and a tweeter speaker upgrade. New options this year include Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and cruise control.

Favorite Features

Six Standard Airbags

If Kia can put side-impact airbags and curtain-type airbags into every Rio, one wonders why they're still not standard on competitors such as the Chevrolet Aveo.

Automatic Transmission

Unlike some small cars with automatics, the Rio5 goes through the gears promptly and easily, with no awkwardness or lurching. Shifts are barely noticed, in fact, though the manual transmission can deliver slightly more spirited acceleration.

Under the Hood

Kia has made steady improvement to the power of its 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, which drives either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Although Kia has made major strides in noise, vibration and harshness, the Rio's engine is still buzzy under harder acceleration and lacks the smoothness and refinement of its Japanese competitors. Fuel economy is good, attaining 35 miles per gallon highway when equipped with the four-speed automatic.

1.6-liter in-line 4

110 horsepower @ 6000 rpm

107 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/34 (manual), 27/36 (automatic)

Editors' Notes

Kia continues to take small cars seriously. When the South Korean automaker launched a wagon companion to its subcompact Rio Sedan for 2001, that hatchback was called the Rio Cinco ("five" in Spanish), to denote the number of doors. The Cinco name may be gone, but the five-door hatchback remains with a simpler name: The 2010 Kia Rio5. Sharing much of its design with the Rio Sedan, the Rio5 has a sportier demeanor about it, not to mention a more versatile cargo hold. And, despite the Rio5's "entry-level" pricing, Kia installs six standard airbags in every vehicle. Kia claims to be the most improved brand in terms of initial quality over the past five years. A half decade ago it had serious room for improvement, but now it is certainly in the mainstream of vehicle quality.

Road Test Video Reviews

2010 Kia Rio Owner Reviews

3.86
51 Reviews
27% 39% 27% 4% 2%
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2010 Kia rio is great for people who do not take the best care of their cars.

2010 Kia Rio

It has been very reliable and very low maintenance. I bought it used. It was 4 years old and had 60, 000 miles on it. I am bad about getting routine maintenance done on my vehicle. The car was not well taken care of, it still had the original brakes and spark plugs from the factory after six years, and I never had a problem with it. I only recently had them changed as part of routine maintenance. The only thing that ever goes bsd is the coil packs. This is a cheap and easy fix every 4 or 5 years or so. It goes pretty good in all types of weather too. It's been an excellent vehicle.

- Gina G

Great gas sipper and highly reliable.

2010 Kia Rio LX

I have over 82,000 miles on my car. It gets great gas mileage and the only thing I don't like is it is noisy at high speeds. It is very reliable have only had to replace the battery. I call it my no frills girl because have manual roll up windows, no key fob to automatically unlock the doors, or touchscreen. I do have two plug in outlets for charging. My car is very reliable and inexpensive to maintain. I just wish it had a backup camera. I highly recommend my car for a great commuting car.

- Beth H

One simply amazing vehicle for its size.

2010 Kia Rio LX

My Kia is small, yet can fit all of my projects for transport. It's superior on gas and I have had so few issues with it. Last year I drove around the country with four other people in my little Kia Rio5! It was amazing and my Kia again, had no problems at all! I now have about 130,000 miles and it's still running strong. I live in an area with all kinds of weather including snow, my Kia, though light; barrels through with very little problems. I love my Kia Rio5!

- Stacey K

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