KBB Logo Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.

Editor's Overview

Available as a sedan or 5-door hatchback, the value-packed 2018 Kia Rio boasts a larger interior than its diminutive size would suggest. It offers a generous serving of tech-savvy features and the best warranty in the segment. All-new for 2018, the Rio offers an attractive, quiet interior, a comfortable ride, and an expansive array of safety features.

You'll Like The 2018 Kia Rio If...

For city dwellers, the Kia Rio offers an appealing mix of good fuel economy, good looks and lots of value, while making it much easier to deal with snug parking spaces. The Rio also boasts a fantastic warranty, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility and safety features including autonomous emergency braking.

You May Not Like The 2018 Kia Rio If...

If your goal is to find a low-priced fuel-sipper, the Rio does the job, but you can find better fuel economy elsewhere. The Rio also lacks a hybrid or electric option. There are also subcompact cars that offer a more sporting attitude.

What's New

Kia’s subcompact sedan and hatchback are all-new for 2018, riding on a new, larger platform with a new body. The redesigned interior is more upscale, and the Rio also has an expanded suite of safety features.

Interior Features

The Kia Rio’s relatively roomy interior looks more upscale than you may expect in this size category — even in the base LX — and contains several appealing convenience and tech features. The screen serves as the infotainment center and is well placed near the top of the dashboard. Controls to adjust temperature and the stereo are logically placed and within easy reach. Steering-wheel-mounted controls are standard; the more features your Rio has, the more features you can control via buttons on the steering wheel. Leather accents are optional on the EX.

Exterior Features

Whether in 4-door sedan or 5-door hatchback form, the Rio’s new looks have a European influence, and the Rio is now both sportier and more mature than in the past. Even though the sedan and hatch share the same wheelbase, the sedan is almost 13 inches longer. All models come with 15-inch wheels and tires, but step up to the EX and your Rio rides on alloy wheels. Also differentiating the EX from the rest are fog lights, a black-and-chrome grille, and a black/body-color bumper.

Driving Impressions

Thanks to a new platform and suspension, the longer, lower, wider Kia Rio feels more planted and confident than in the past and has more poise than you might expect for its size and price. The newly redesigned cabin is smartly laid out, is roomier than the car’s size would suggest, and is available with features you’d expect to find at a higher price point. The Rio is available with one engine and either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic. The Rio used every ounce of the engine’s 130 horsepower and 119 lb-ft of torque, and did fine accelerating onto the freeway. This isn’t a ton of power, but the benefit is better fuel economy. Considering this is a commuter car, getting mpg as good as 29 in the city and 37 on the highway will offer a bigger benefit than high horsepower in the long run.

Pricing Notes

The value-minded 2018 Kia Rio sedan starts with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $14,795 for the LX with the 6-speed manual. That is $1,160 less than in 2017. Spend another $1,090 and you get the 6-speed automatic. The hatchback starts at $15,095, which is also a lower starting price than last year. Both body styles top out at around $21,000. The Honda Fit and Nissan Versa Note hatchbacks have starting prices that are a little higher than the Rio, as does the 2018 Toyota Yaris. On the sedan side, you can get a Ford Fiesta for just under $15,000 and the Nissan Versa for around $13,000. Check KBB.com’s Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Rio.

Notable Equipment

The starting price for the base LX, including destination fees, is under $15,000. There are some pleasant standard-equipment surprises in the LX trim, such as the 5-inch audio display, steering-wheel-mounted controls, air conditioning, tinted glass, Sirius satellite radio and extensive safety equipment. However, you’ll be cranking the windows by hand, the 15-inch wheels are steel with covers, you don’t get a center console with armrest, a 60/40-split rear seat comes only on S-and-higher Rio sedans (standard on hatchbacks), and power seats aren’t offered on any trim level.

Notable Options

If you opt for the top-of-the-line EX, you’re welcomed by a Rio with alloy wheels, front fog lights, heated side mirrors, tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel (it’s tilt-only on LX and S) and a 3.5-inch LCD display within the gauge cluster. You control UVO3 infotainment and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto through a 7-inch screen, and you get cruise control and one-touch auto up/down power windows. On the safety side, all EX models come with Autonomous Emergency Braking.

Favorite Features

TECH-FRIENDLY INTERIORIt’s easy to stay connected in the Rio, with available features like a 7-inch display to run Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Sirius satellite radio is standard, Bluetooth and a rearview camera are available, and there’s a USB jack and optional charger.SAFETY FEATURESThe Kia Rio is one of the least expensive cars to offer Autonomous Emergency Braking. There’s also a long list of safety features that are standard across the board. Six airbags, hill-start assist, vehicle-stability management and tire-pressure monitoring are included on every Rio.

Under the Hood

The engine is an updated version of the 1.6-liter 4-cylinder that powered last year’s Rio. Power is down a bit — a mere eight horsepower — from last year, but the upside is that fuel economy has improved for 2018, by one mpg on the highway and as much as two mpg in the city. You can get a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmission in either the 4-door sedan or the 5-door hatchback. 1.6-liter inline-4130 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm119 lb-ft of torque @ 4,850 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/37 mpg (manual), 28/37 mpg (automatic)

Editors' Notes

The value-packed 2018 Kia Rio, available as a sedan or 5-door hatchback, boasts a larger interior than its diminutive size would suggest, a generous serving of tech-savvy features and the best warranty in the segment. The Rio is a more substantial car than its sub-$15,000 base price would suggest, and its options list includes items that you’d normally find on cars costing significantly more. All-new for 2018, the Rio is bolstered by an attractive, quiet interior, a comfortable ride, and an expansive array of safety features. An underappreciated car in the subcompact group, the Rio is poised to take on segment standouts like the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa (and Note), Ford Fiesta and Toyota Yaris.

Road Test Video Reviews

2018 Kia Rio Owner Reviews

4.57
53 Reviews
68% 23% 8% 2% 1 star 0%
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The backup camera. It comes standard and is very helpful for parking.

2018 Kia Rio S

My Rio is pretty comfortable, definitely not the most comfortable but definitely does not qualify for uncomfortable. It performs really well, speeds up quickly and has great gas mileage. It came standard with a backup camera, cruise control, sunglass holder, and Bluetooth. The center console is small but fits what I need it to. The console in the front under the radio is pretty big and convenient to place chapstick, phone, etc. In. There are also two cup holders of ample size along with water bottle holders in the sides of the doors on all 4 of my doors.

- Hannah E

Fun commuter car for a good price.

2018 Kia Rio S

I have owned this car for 6 months and 19000 miles. It's a really fantastic vehicle. One thing I have noticed is that the interior plastic gets scratched really easily. For such a small car it has tons of room and storage. Gas mileage is usually 43-50 MPG in WNC. The vehicle is difficult to self service though. There is no accessible power steering fluid reservoir. The steering is fun and precise and the brakes are good but not too sensitive. Being a lightweight car is has really good pickup and sport mode. I would give a 9/10

- Logan E

for how small it is and how low to the ground it is handles various terrain well

2018 Kia Rio LX

No problems so far with the vehicle. Performance wise it runs smoothly, and quietly so far drives really well on most terrains, gas mileage is amazing. Reliability wise I haven't had any issues with it I drive it back and forth to work, and have taken several trips with it no problem. Seating is very comfortable for a hatchback (tall people friendly). I love all of the features to this vehicle to the extra buttons on the steering wheel to the sport mode button for when you're feeling like a race car driver!

- Alicia W

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