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)
By Eva on Saturday, January 24, 2015
I don't own this caroverall rating 1 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I've had this car for just over a week as a rental since my last car was totaled and it has been the biggest pain. I have had to fill the gas tank up 3 times in the week. I have used it mostly for work (I live 15 minutes away from my job) and one social gathering that was only 30 minutes away. The mileage is terrible and the tank is small. If this were my previous car it wouldn't even be close to half empty. The seats are terribly uncomfortable. Anyone who I have given a ride to has complained not only about the comfort of the seats, but the leg room as well. Unless I put the AC on the cool air setting only blows out warm air. It cannot handle little gusts of wind... and I'm not even talking about heavy gusts of wind that would kind of rattle your car while driving. No, just enough wind to blow some leaves across the road and not even rustle any trees. The doors unlock the moment I put my car into park. Something I really greatly dislike. I will unlock my doors when I'm ready to. I'm not about to have my doors unlock all at once in the middle of the city, in the middle of the night, when I'm by myself. I will never get one and if I can help it I will never get in another one again."
3 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By sandee on Monday, December 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "plenty back seat room"
Cons: "not a lot of power, saves speed tickets"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"I like the steering wheel controls for music, etc. It is black with off white fabric seats, black floor mats and carpet within. Completely straight, no dents, touch ups, new windshield with built in 3rd visor fret, new wipers, reg. oil changes. driven by a little old lady. me"
20 people out of 41 found this review helpful
By GoneGooner on Tuesday, December 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "gas mileage, price"
Cons: "bit bumpy of a ride at high speeds"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Glad I bought this car. Fairly inexpensive, but looks stylish enough. Great gas mileage, so excellent commuter car. Small size helps the parking situation in Philadelphia, but hatch style still affords you a ton for moving space. Great features for a car this price. Would highly recommend for city resident."
14 people out of 23 found this review helpful
By Ken on Saturday, October 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,200overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Comfort level 7 Too much road noise. This care has all power, but not cruise control, which is of necessity because it increases highway driving comfort. Too bad Kia does not support after-market cruise control installation. All warranty is void if you do install cruise control."
23 people out of 46 found this review helpful
By tony on Monday, October 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 256overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "best gas mileage, fun to drive, low fill up cost"
Cons: "small size, no center consule with lowest model."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought the 2015 kia rio lowest base model for 14800 last weekend. I've put 250 miles on it (bought it with 7 miles) and I still have a little less than half a tank. the dealer filled up the tank when I bought it and it had 50 miles to empty. it stopped at $21.50 on full. the car drives great on the highway and it says I get about 40 mpg which is awesome being I came from a 2003 chevy Silverado. I'd highly recommend anyone this car that is my age (22) and needs a efficient car to get from place to place. its nothing like my truck but I cant complain I love this car!"
2 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Sam15 on Sunday, October 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Mileage, compact size for easy city parking"
Cons: "No spare tire"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought my 2012 EX with about a month of research after totaling my Scion. By far the quickest and easiest decision I made was to purchase this car. Excellent mileage, great interior, a lot of room for packing the car with the fold down seats, extremely reliable and drives great in all types of weather. I trusted my Scion to keep me safe, which it did, and feel the same in the Rio. Great starter car for a young 20 yr old to get from point a to point b. Only complaint is having a fix a flat instead of a spare tire (dealer told us after we purchased). I would recommend this car for a student commuter, young family, adult who commutes far daily. Overall an excellent car!"
10 people out of 14 found this review helpful