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2011 Kia Rio

Overview
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2011 Kia Rio Review

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Rising fuel prices have many people searching around for an economical and inexpensive second car. Finding an economical small car is easy, but finding one that sells for less than $13,000 is another matter entirely. Thankfully, the 2011 Kia Rio Sedan is fuel efficient, affordable and comes nicely loaded, including a 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty. Smartly styled and capable of achieving up to 36 miles per gallon, the Rio outperforms many of its newer rivals, offering more horsepower and standard equipment than the Toyota Yaris and Mazda Mazda2. Those willing to spend a little more money can get a nicely equipped Rio Sedan that includes cruise control, Bluetooth and steering wheel audio controls for around $16,500.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking to spend as little as possible, but fear doing so will only buy you a bucket of bolts, think again. The 2011 Kia Rio is efficient, affordable and reliable. Plus, it's backed by Kia's 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain and 5-year/60,000 bumper-to-bumper warranties.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The 2011 Kia Rio is not as modern or youthful as the Mazda Mazda2 or Toyota Yaris, nor does it offer electronic traction and stability control. Although Kia's quality has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years, the Rio still takes a backseat to the Yaris and Mazda2 when it comes to resale value.

What's Significant About This Car?

With an all-new model coming in 2012, the Kia Rio sees no major changes for 2011.

Driving the Rio

Driving Impressions You might not think it looking at the 2011 Kia Rio, but a comfortable ride and easy maneuverability are two of its strong points, even over rough and unwelcoming pavement....

The light steering allows the nimble Rio to bob and weave through tight traffic with ease, but at highway speed the car tracks true with very little input required to keep it moving in a straight line. Push the Rio to its limits, however, and you'll find plenty of lean and roll, not to mention understeer. When equipped with the SX's 16-inch wheel and tire package, the Rio's handling improves dramatically, almost to the point of being sporty. The Rio's five-speed manual has long shifts and feels balky and rubbery; we think a better choice is the four-speed automatic, which delivers better fuel economy.

Bluetooth Connectivity
Kia continues to add features most other cars in this segment don't even offer. Bluetooth phone connectivity is just one, along with a standard USB port for iPod connectivity.

Automatic Transmission
Unlike some small cars with automatics, the Rio goes through its gears promptly and easily, with no awkwardness or lurching. Automatic shifts are barely noticed, though the manual transmission can deliver slightly more spirited acceleration.

2011 Kia Rio Details
Interior

While the government says the 2011 Kia Rio can accommodate five people, we think four is a much more rational number. Front seat occupants will likely find they have plenty of head and legroom, as well as a comfortable set of seats. The same cannot be said for those seated in the rear, however, where head and legroom are only adequate and the rear seatback's rather excessive angle makes it uncomfortable for long trips. Thanks to the LX trim's standard 60/40 split-folding rear seats, the Rio's 11.9 cubic foot trunk can be expanded to hold long or bulky items such as skis or snowboards. Those needing maximum cargo space might be better off with the Rio's sister car, the Rio5 hatchback.

Exterior

Although the European-designed Rio is supposed to look suave and sophisticated, it actually comes off a bit dull and ordinary when placed beside such cars as the new Mazda2 or Ford Fiesta. Still, the 2011 Kia Rio is larger than it looks, and its wide stance not only helps improve the car's handling, it makes for a wider passenger compartment. Base models ride on 14-inch wheels covered by plastic hubcaps, but the SX trim offers handsome 16-inch alloy wheels, which go a long way in improving the Rio's appearance.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2011 Kia Rio features a 1.6-liter engine, five-speed manual transmission, anti-lock brakes (ABS), body-colored bumpers, auto-off headlamps, rear defroster, variable wipers, height-adjustable driver's seat, tachometer, AM/FM stereo with MP3-compatible CD player, auxiliary audio input jack and USB port, Sirius Satellite Radio with a free three-month subscription, dual sun visors with vanity mirrors, dual cup holders and front, front side-impact and full-length side-curtain airbags. The LX trim adds air conditioning, power steering, full wheel covers, tilt steering wheel, 60/40 split-folding rear seat and rear-seat adjustable headrests. SX models include 16-inch alloy wheels, sport seats with red trim, fog lights and a rear spoiler.

Optional Equipment

Options for the Rio include a four-speed automatic transmission, air conditioning, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, 15-inch aluminum wheels (LX), dual heated power mirrors, power windows, power locks with remote keyless entry, steering wheel audio controls, front tweeter upgrade and a rear spoiler.

Under the Hood

The 2011 Kia Rio is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, which drives either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Although Kia has made major improvements in noise, vibration and harshness, the Rio's engine is still buzzy at high speed and lacks the smoothness and refinement of its Japanese competitors. Fuel economy is excellent, and is EPA-rated at 36 miles per gallon on the 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)

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2011 Kia Rio Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.1
Out of 10

Based on 185 Ratings for the 2006 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.3/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.3/10
  • Comfort
    8.1/10
    Styling
    8.2/10

Great cheap car

By on Monday, August 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 117,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "reliable, great mileage - and it comes in red :)"

Cons: "none, really"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Sadly, my little Kia Rio 5 with 117,000 just got totaled while being driven by a family member (no one hurt). I will really miss it. The car was dependable, sturdy, and got great gas mileage. I got the one with no bells and whistles, and the only thing I wish I had gotten were electric door locking because of my short arms. It was peppy enough, handled well, and reliable. I think it would have made it to 200,000 miles. I think I'm getting another one. It's not a car my tech-loving engineer sister would love, but it was perfect for me."

9 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Excellent car

By on Thursday, July 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 118,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"New AC and timing belt Automatic transmission 118000 mile excellent car For 4500 my number 3342375205"

Safest car ever!

By on Thursday, July 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Smooth ride, very safe"

Cons: "costly parts, slow acceleration"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is great when it comes to style, comfort, drivability and spaciousness. The ONLY problem I've had with this car in the past 4 years is a dead battery. BUT the cost of said battery was $190.00. So be prepared to pay higher costs for parts per my mechanic since Kia's are just "coming up". I still love my car and am proud of it's 10 yes 10 air bags!!!! Makes me feel completely safe and trust that my kids will be ok in the event of an accident."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Great little car for the money

By on Thursday, May 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 99,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great price fun to drive very ecconomical"

Cons: "Basic car, no frills Plastic instead of padding,,,"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Have had this car since 2007, has cost very little to maintain. It has been reliable cheap transportation, for years now. Very satisfied with the overall features and driving pleasure this car has given, me. Would buy another without hesitation....."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Excellent car

By on Monday, April 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 88,800

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Easy to drive and park plus it get great gas mi."

Cons: "No cruse control"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Money was not wasted on purchasing this vehicle. It is very reliable and has great gas mileage. The body size is perfect for parking at crowded places because it fits in just about any space. It is easy to drive for going to work, school and running errands."

7 people out of 13 found this review helpful

My little Rio.

By on Saturday, April 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 160,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "affordable car to own and drive!"

Cons: "cheap interior and some pesky motor issues."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"My little Kia Rio has been a pretty good car considering how I drive LOL. It is a super affordable vehicle to own and operate the gas mileage is great I average 35-37 in mix driving, while I get 40 mpg on the interstate. I will say, the motor is probably the cheapest, besides the interior. I have replaced all ignition coils and did several tune-ups to maintain it, and I'm very religious on oil changes LOL. If you are looking for an affordable small car don't be afraid to buy a Kia - they have improved. I drive 450-500 miles a week without any problem! :)"

8 people out of 9 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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