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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 New for 2011

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 197 Ratings for the 2006 - 2011 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
    8.1/10

Great price, great car.

By on Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Value. Durability. Styling."

Cons: "Paint finish scratches easily."

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

"I bought this car brand new in 2010 and have had zero problems. The mileage is actually getting better as it ages. I'm 6'2" and the drivers seat is extremely comfortable. For the money it is one of the most reliable cars I've ever owned."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Reliable and sturdy compact car!

By on Friday, February 19, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 109,500

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
5/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Reliability."

Cons: "Ride comfort"

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

"I bought my 2006 Kia Rio used in 2013 with around 80,000 miles. So, I've owned it for 3 years and put in about 40,000 miles on it. I have had no problems with this compact car. All I have done is regular maintenance: replacing spark plugs and timing belt. I am very happy with the reliability and quality of this car. Also I have driven this car from coast to coast a few times. I live in Texas but have driven this car to Savannah, Georgia three times and to LA once. I have driven this car to NJ to visit my sister and back also. This car has gone through a lot of driving but there is no showing of wearing or problems on the horizon. The only downside is lack of ride comfort. But you can't expect that from a compact car so I will accept that shortcoming."

7 people out of 16 found this review helpful

This car is a lemon and a black hole for money!

By on Friday, February 5, 2016

I owned and sold this car

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
2/10
Comfort
2/10

Pros: "Great on gas!"

Cons: "Everything else!"

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

"I bought this car several years ago and head a constant headache from the moment I drove it out of the lot. All the bearings went, recalls on parts, brake issues, the timing belt, electrical issues, fuses blown, you name it! Every other week I had to replace a bulb on a turning signal or brake light. The cloth ceiling started falling down and the brake sensor started going at 60k. Any little things like buttons or clips made from cheap plastic will break. The entire setup is cramped and uncomfortable and made of cheap light-colored cloth that stains easily. Any money you think you're saving on this "value" of a car will be dumped into this black hole of an investment no matter how well you think you "maintain your vehicles". I dropped 6K (at least) on the constant minor repairs on this cheap plastic car in the first two years of ownership alone. I was lucky anyone even gave me any money for it when I sold it last year since Kias violently devalue. Get a Toyota and save yourself the hassle. I know I did."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

New tires, minimal inside wear, outside dings

By on Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,186

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "only 21,186 original miles"

Cons: "minor scratches, normal wear inside but clean"

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

"Only 21,186 miles. Brand new tires, alignment, outside dings and minor scratches from shopping carts that users don't put in their proper location, minor squirrel skids (have repaired most of them), front & rear camera black boxes, minimal inside wear, no visible rust, undercoating maintain by owner, maintenance every 5,000 miles (uses synthetic oil)and best spark plugs installed, new air filter."

18 people out of 36 found this review helpful

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."

12 people out of 19 found this review helpful

it's aight

By on Monday, June 8, 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."

17 people out of 28 found this review helpful

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