It is no understatement to say that the 2018 Kia Rio gives you the chance to own a new car without breaking the bank. Both the sedan and five-door hatchback versions have starting MSRPs of under $15,000, making this an excellent choice for drivers on a budget. Thanks to the hatchback option, there is not even a need to sacrifice cargo space to drive this affordable auto. Overall, the Rio delivers a responsive touchscreen system, a quiet cabin, and a composed ride.
Looking at the 2018 Kia Rio does not give away quite how affordable this auto really is. The 2018 version of this sedan and hatchback are new, and most reviewers agree that the lines are sharper to create a more visually appealing presentation. The lower front bumper is opened up to deliver more expressiveness. The grille is also more upright and taller with a new tiger-nose grille that you might recognize from the Niro. The wheels are now more toward the auto’s corner, reducing overhangs from the previous version. There is also a character line that carries to the back, creating a line in the hatch’s back window or turning up the sedan’s deck lid. Interior styling involves a more upright and lower instrument panel and a touchscreen that no longer seems to be an afterthought.
When you look at the specs for the 2018 Rio, you will notice that the 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine is actually slightly less powerful than the previous model year with 130 horsepower and a torque of 119 pound-feet. While there is a small drop in power of 8 horses, the revisions to power delivery improve drivability in the real world. There is an extra lower-end grunt, allowing for a better feel in stop-and-go-traffic. Most drivers will go with the familiar 6-speed automatic transmission, but you may also find a 6-speed manual. However, this gearbox is only available on the base trim and not in great numbers.
What it lacks in power, the Rio makes up for with efficiency. No matter the transmission you choose, the EPA rates the Rio at 32 mpg combined. The automatic version breaks this down to 28 mpg in the city and 37 on the highway. Meanwhile, the manual gets 29 mpg in the city.
Despite being a compact car, this auto can actually fit four tall adults, including a 6-foot-3-inch person in the front passenger seat with another person of equal height directly behind. Expect 13.7 cubic feet for cargo from the latest Rio sedan or 17.4 cubes from the hatchback, with the latter figure improving by 2 cubic feet from last year. Fold down the rear seats in the hatchback to get 32.8 cubic feet.
Comfort and Features
While the seats lack some adjustability, they are comfortable. The second-row seat splits and folds on all but the base model. In terms of features, all 2018 Rios have air conditioning, cloth seats, manual windows, and 15-inch wheels. The next trim up adds Bluetooth, a rearview camera, and cruise control, along with power windows. You can also enjoy the 2018 Kia Rio with a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, 3.5-inch information screen, leather on the steering wheel, and upgraded cloth upholstery.