By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.6
Among the more well-established subcompacts like the Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Accent comes another contender: the 2013 Kia Rio sedan and Rio 5 hatchback. All new last year, the Rio takes subcompact styling and content to new levels. The Rio's exterior looks sturdy and aggressive while its interior is filled with features normally reserved for larger, more expensive cars. With an eye toward economy, Kia equips the 5-passenger Rio with a fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engine that uses the latest in fuel-injection technology. The Rio is rated to attain up to 37 mpg yet still delivers fairly quick acceleration.
Kia's Rio for 2013 delivers a lot of goods for very little money. If value and fuel economy are as important as style and substance, the 2013 Kia Rio is sure to please. And, is doesn't hurt that the Rio has the most horsepower and best warranty in its class.
When it comes to interior cabin space, the 2013 Kia Rio takes a back seat to cars like the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa.
For 2013, Kia offers its Idle Stop and Go (ISG) technology as part of the Rio EX's Eco package. ISG automatically shuts down the engine when stopped and then restarts it once the gas pedal is depressed. Also new are steering-wheel paddle shifters on the Rio SX.
Driving Impressions The lion's share of our time in the 2013 Kia Rio was spent stretching its legs on long highway expanses. We were impressed not only by the Rio's stable ride,...quiet cabin and direct steering, but by the willingness of its little 1.6-liter engine. With 134 horsepower on tap, the eager 4-cylinder provided more than enough power for passing slower trucks, although most of the power can be felt in the higher-rpm range. Kia says it benchmarked Ford's Fiesta when tuning the Rio's suspension. While we found the Rio to be agile and confident in the turns, we wouldn't equate it to the same athletic feel as the Ford Fiesta or Mazda Mazda2. As for comfort, we found the Rio's seats to be fairly supportive, and only minimal road noise could be detected inside the cabin.
IDLE STOP AND GO (ISG) TECHNOLOGY
It's a little disconcerting at first but, once we got used to the sound of the car starting after every stop, we took comfort in the added fuel savings that the feature entails.
Factory navigation systems are uncommon at this price point and we like that the Kia Rio blazes the trail by offering this feature.
Aesthetics aside, what really sets the 2013 Kia Rio apart from the competition is its impressive list of standard and available features. The Rio incorporates a 3-cylinder instrument panel and wraparound dash design that is simple and user-friendly. Some of the more notable available features include Bluetooth, a 7-inch navigation system with a rearview camera, push-button start, a UVO ("your voice" in Kia-speak) voice-activated infotainment system and leather seating surfaces.
Our time with the 2013 Kia Rio was limited to the 5-door variant, which shares the same features and mechanical details with its 4-door sibling. Kia's design engineers wedged the Rio's edges, sloped its shoulder lines and sculpted a look using design elements from its Optima and Sportage brethren. For 2013, the Rio incorporates Kia's signature grille flanked by slanted headlights and a large air dam. The base Rio sits on 15-inch steel wheel or alloys, but stepping to the up-level SX brings more stylish 17-inch alloys. All things said, it looks like the product of some serious Optima and Sportage canoodling.
The 2013 Kia Rio LX comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission (a 6-speed automatic is available), air conditioning, a radio with auxiliary/USB input, steering-wheel audio controls and four speakers and that's about it. Power windows and door locks are optional. Stepping up to the EX and SX trims includes the power accessories and adds many other features: cruise control, UVO audio and rearview camera, AM/FM/CD/MP3/SiriusXM audio, Bluetooth, power door locks, power windows and other visual and convenience upgrades to the interior and exterior.
Options for the 2013 Kia Rio come in the forms of packages. For example, notable features in the SX Premium Package include push-button start with Smart Key, a navigation system, leather seating surfaces, heated front seats and a moonroof. The EX Convenience Package adds 15-inch alloy wheels, power folding side mirrors, fog lights, rearview camera and the UVO infotainment system. The ECO package includes the ISG (Idle Stop and Go) technology and Active ECO system for optimal fuel-efficient driving.
Regardless of trim, motivation for the 2013 Kia Rio comes from a 138-horsepower, 1.6-liter direct-injected 4-cylinder engine mated to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. Bolstering fuel savings on Rio models with an automatic transmission is the optional Eco package that includes ISG technology. The acronym stands for "Idle Stop and Go," which is a fuel-saving system that turns off the engine when the car is stopped and seamlessly turns it on again when the brake pedal is released. This eco-smart mechanism is good for approximately one more mpg across the board, according to Kia.
138 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
123 lb-ft of torque @ 4,850 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/37 (manual), 28/36 (automatic), 30/36 (automatic with Eco package)
The 2013 Kia Rio LX sedan has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just under $14,500, while the 5-door LX starts a few hundred dollars more. The Rio EX sedan starts around $17,250 and the top-trim SX sells for just a tad over $18,500. The ECO package tacks on $400. Check out the KBB Fair Purchase Price for current real-world pricing of the Kia Rio in your area. As for resale value, we expect the 2013 Kia Rio will retain residuals on par with those of the Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris and Hyundai Accent, but not as well as those of the Honda Fit.
By steve-o on Monday, April 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "handles great"
Cons: "no power windows or locks and no arm rest"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Not bad for a manual transmission that will not roll back on a hill. Great for drivers who are learning to drive a manual transmission for the first time. Put an aftermarket intake on it and get 44.2mpg on the highway going 70mph. only costs around $30 to fill up when almost on empty."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By cyd on Friday, March 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,005overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "good price, reliable"
Cons: "blind spots, road noise"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"the only 2 things I don't love about it are the fact that it has so many blind spots and the road noise. Other than that is great! I like it!"
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By turtleteach on Thursday, January 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Excellent gas mileage!"
Cons: "Front passenger seat too low, can't raise"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"A great car for the price. Love the loaded premium package that turns it into a luxury vehicle. Good looking inside and out. Wish it had a real spare tire instead of a can of sealant and a front passenger seat that could be raised."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Dotti on Monday, January 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, economical"
Cons: "none that I can think of"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I purchased this car in 2012 for daily travel of 50 to 100 miles a day. The mileage is great much better than the sticker indicated, comfortable and fun to drive."
By shadyg24 on Wednesday, January 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Cons: "needs a bigger gas tank"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"very nice gas saving car evening sporty has plenty of power wife loves it..but like i said i wish for a bigger gas tank."
By Rio904 on Wednesday, November 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "price, good gas mileage, easy to maintain,so cute!"
Cons: "small back seat, rear speakers"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is the first new vehicle I have ever owned and I am so happy I chose Kia. The Rio is small but comfortable and really great on gas! I use it for my daily commute and I have no complaints at all. This car is adorable and I get compliments all the time! Definitely would recommend!"
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful