Go

2011 Kia Rio

Overview
Share this page
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

Buying this car?

2011 Kia Rio Review

By

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)

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

Buying this car?

2011 Kia Rio Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.1
Out of 10

Based on 193 Ratings for the 2006 - 2012 models.

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

Good transportation.

By on Monday, August 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 87,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good gas mileage , and dependable"

Cons: "Road and wind noise."

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

"Had timing belt replaced at about 70,000 miles. One spark plug coil went bad at 80,000, so I replaced the spark plugs at that time also. Only other issue was the condensation drain for the A/C plugged up, resulting in wet carpet on right side floor. Pretty simple fix. Really, excellent transportation for the money."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

it's aight

By on Monday, June 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
6/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "great gas mileage"

Cons: "literally everything else"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"It's an ok car... She gets great gas mileage. I can drive from Jackson Hole to Salt Lake on one $27 tank of gas. Don't even try getting up any kind of incline without getting significant momentum or you'll be in 4th gear going 15mph. If you live in a flat city and never plan on leaving, this car is ok. For anyone who even has a steep driveway..... keep looking."

10 people out of 16 found this review helpful

you get what you pay for with Kia

By on Monday, May 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,500

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "lowest price by far when comparing new cars."

Cons: "Lowest quality driving experience, by far."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"I have the 5 spd so it is powerful enough if I floor it. Light weight REQUIRES winter tires with any snow. M & S rated are worthless for the Rio. My mileage is 32 - 34 in the winter and 36 to 37 in summer. Torque steer in 1st is considerable. Disappears by 3rd. Buzzy like a chainsaw over 60 mph, yes in 5th. Kia only filled the tranny with half the oil needed initially. Dealer couldn't explain why shifting to 5th created sychro grinding until I waited a second to go from 4th to 5th. Warranty didn't cover 'noises' from tranny. Found out when changed out fluid at 60k miles."

3 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Super fun car to drive!

By on Saturday, March 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

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

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

"This is not the Kia of yesteryear.. My 5 speed 2009 Rio is a little jack rabbit! It feels tight and handles like a sports car. It can accelerate through turns without throwing your body into the passenger seat. The engine is spirited yet gets 33-34 mpg city/hwy mix. I imagine that a long trip could reach into the 36+ mpg range. The turning radius is amazing. This car can make U-turns like the wind and is a dream to park. Manual windows, door locks, mirrors...not a big deal for me. Less things to fail and cost you money."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Does it's job well.

By on Thursday, March 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Simple, easy to drive, convenient"

Cons: "Nothing fancy, slow pickup, shakes at high speeds."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"This is a nice little car that does it's job very well. Nothing too fancy or crazy, but just your perfect run-of-the-mill little car that'll get you here and there without any major problems. Sound system is great especially if you install satellite radio and AUX cable port."

3 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Good Car

By on Friday, January 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great gas mileage, reliable and economciial"

Cons: "Ride is not very smooth"

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

"This has been a very good car for the price We have not had any major problems or recalls. It served the purpose it was purchased for, economy, great gas mileage and reliability."

22 people out of 31 found this review helpful

Share this page
Advertisement
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

Buying this car?

Advertisement