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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.
Favorite Features

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 175 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

Vehicle has been very dependable. Ready to go.

By on Thursday, March 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Confident. Great start up. Acceleration wonderful."

Cons: "Regular size vehicle."

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

"Body on vehicle great with just two exceptional dings on the driver side passenger door. Rear bumper backed into by someone. No apparent damage. MP3 CD player not used. Front tires changed out last year. Ignition switched out due to tumbler being messed up in December 2013. was under warranty. Knock-Knock sensor changed out in December 2013 on a recall. No problems otherwise. Mechanically sound. Great Transportation."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Great little car!

By on Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 67,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great price, great gas mileage, fun to drive"

Cons: "No cruise control, no MP3/iPod dock"

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

"I call this car my transformer because it's a compact car that acts like a pickup truck! I have thoroughly enjoyed owning and driving this car and it has never let me down! My overall rating and comfort & convenience rating are 9 out of 10 for two very minor reasons: 1. no cruise control and 2. no MP3/iPod dock. The gas mileage is great and I have hauled a lot of stuff in it from furniture to trees and shrubs! And I have NEVER gotten stuck in a snow storm! Routine maintenance has kept this car in tip top shape and very reliable."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

this is a very good little car

By on Friday, February 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 135,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "reliable and very good fuel economy"

Cons: "really nothing"

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

"Great car!I have driven this car daily for 4 years and can honestly say that this car has never wanted anything except for coil packs (3) and power steering belts (2). Very good powerfor daily driving with exellent handling characteristics. The pros are simple very reliable and very good car with a nice ammount of space. The cons are if you drive in either a city or a mountainous area the AC needs to off or turned down"

Purchased my car new in 2006 and still love it

By on Thursday, February 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 144,000

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
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Cold a/c, design features in and out, roomy."

Cons: "steering a bit difficult. No leather in 2006"

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

"At 144,440 miles I still love my car. Kia have the coldest A/c. I have never had to do anything with it except routine tasks like oil changes, shocks, struts, ignition coil. After 144,000 miles everything still works. Gets great gas mileage and drives fine for a compact wagon. The 2012 model made improvements with increasing the ease of use with steering as well as made it a smoother ride. Would buy another one in a heartbeat!"

i have had this 2006 rio for 6 years, very happy

By on Monday, January 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "cheap, dependable, quiet for a cheap compact"

Cons: "engine high rpms with 5 speed"

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

"purchased this used with 25k miles. it now has over 100k. i have the le model w/5speed and air. thats about all the options it has. it runs great, gets good mpg 28-33. i have had a few minor issues but nothing i wouldn't expect. at 90k front end was eating tires quickly, needed new ball joints to fix problem. (easiest ball joints i ever replaced on a car) starter went out at 95k (not so easy to get to). thats about all the work its needed besides brake pads. still runs great, not a rattle bucket, drives pretty quiet and smooth for the kind of car it is. i have been very happy with this car. one negitive is the engine high rpms on the hwy with the 5 speed. i put on a little taller tires and it helped."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

alignment issues from the start

By on Friday, January 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "decent gas milage, but not the 40 hwy advertised"

Cons: "poor workman ship, bad customer service"

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

"I have had this car since Jan of 2012. I never noticed any pulling, had my tires rotated as I should, yet had to replace tires in Mar 2013, and now again in jan 2014! The customer service I have received what I would call mediocre at best. They admit there are alignment issues, but are reluctant deal with much at all I have never had a new car give me problems like this. I am completely disgusted!"

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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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