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2014 Kia Rio Review

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2014 Kia Rio Expert Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 6.5

Although it romps on the roads with more established subcompacts such as the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit and Chevy Sonic, the Kia Rio sedan and its 5-door friend, the Rio 5, outmaneuver them all with an unbeatable combination of price, features, power, fuel economy and warranty. One look at the Rio tells the viewer this is no Toyota Yaris. Looking more like a mini Sportage or Optima, the Rio is stylish both inside and out, plus it offers up features usually reserved for more expensive models. Its fuel-efficient 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine uses gasoline direct-injection technology that helps the Rio to attain excellent fuel economy while delivering class-leading horsepower.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're on a tight budget, you don't have to settle for a bare-bones car. The 2014 Kia Rio comes nicely equipped for around $16,000 and has the best warranty in the industry.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you need a small car with a big interior, the 2014 Kia Rio isn't as accommodating as a Honda Fit or Nissan Versa. The Chevy Sonic offers a sporty feel, while the Versa Note takes top honors in the fuel-economy category.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 6.5
  • 5.3
  • 6.5
  • 6.6
  • 7.3
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#3

out of 5

Fuel Economy

#1

out of 5

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

8.1 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2014 Kia Rio Low/wide front photo What's New for 2014

The 2014 Kia Rio and Rio 5 receive only minor enhancements this year. Additional plastic shielding under the car helps improve aerodynamics, while interior upgrades include a new water-temperature gauge. A redesigned Smart Key fob includes a folding key for added convenience.

Driving the Rio
2014 Kia Rio Front angle view photo

Driving Impressions We spent most of our time running the 2014 Kia Rio over long highway expanses. Not usually the best environment for testing an economy car, the Rio surprised us with...

... its peppy acceleration, stable ride and quiet interior. The Rio's steering feel is nicely weighted and the car never felt as if it wanted to wander from our lane, even when big 18-wheelers blew past. The 138-horsepower, 1.6-liter engine is a willing participant once you move the tachometer needle past 3500 rpm, a fact true for almost all the Rio's competitors save for the turbocharged Chevy Sonic. In comparison, we found the Rio's handling fairly agile, but not as dialed-in as the Ford Fiesta or Mazda2. However, a comparably equipped Fiesta costs more than Rio, and the Mazda2 looks downright Spartan in comparison.

IDLE STOP-AND-GO (ISG) TECHNOLOGY
Idle stop-and-go technology simply shuts down the engine when the car comes to a stop and then immediately restarts when the accelerator pedal is depressed. The idea is to save fuel that would otherwise be wasted while idling.

ONBOARD NAVIGATION
Good luck finding a base-model, factory-installed navigation unit as good as this one, if you can find one at all in most of the Rio's competitors.

2014 Kia Rio Details
2014 Kia Rio Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Aesthetics aside, what really sets the 2014 Kia Rio apart from the competition is its impressive list of standard and available features. The Rio incorporates a "3-tunnel" instrument panel with 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.

Exterior
2014 Kia Rio photo

Our time with the 2014 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. The 2014 Rio incorporates Kia's signature grille flanked by slanted headlights and a large air dam. The base Rio sits on 15-inch steel wheels 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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2014 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.

Optional Equipment

Options for the 2014 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

Under the Hood
2014 Kia Rio Engine photo

Regardless of trim, motivation for the 2014 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. The Rio's gas mileage numbers of 27 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway are the same regardless of transmission choice. Helping with the fuel savings is the Rio's 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 in the city loop.

1.6-liter inline-4
138 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
123 lb-ft of torque @ 4,850 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/37 mpg, 28/37 mpg (Eco)

The 2014 Kia Rio LX sedan has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just around $14,600, while the 5-door LX starts a few hundred dollars more. The Rio EX sedan starts around $17,500 and the top-trim SX sells for just a tad over $18,600. 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 2014 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.

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2014 Kia Rio Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.1
Out of 10

Based on 30 Ratings for the 2012 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    7.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.1/10
    Styling
    8.4/10

Kia should advertise this car much more. Excellent

By on Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great price! great quality! great mileage!"

Cons: "Cup holders too small"

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

"Most people buy this model with few options. We felt the sx model would be great and added all options available. Mileage is best I have gotten from all my small cars. My Honda and 2 Toyotas couldn't compare. I drive a car " hard" and this car handles well. Quality is as good or better then the Honda and Toyota. Can't beat the warranty. Priced all the small cars from all the "big" brand names and not one came close. One complaint cup holders are too small. Lol."

If you can buy this car get it !

By on Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Looks, gas milage , Euro style"

Cons: "Seats"

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

"Have had my red EX for 2 1/2 years and can say it is great , ride good ,quite inside , European looks (like Seat Leon) and the fact that is is 97% recyclable is also a plus for the environment. Get many people ask me if brought this back from Europe and love the car. Have had to do nothing but change the oil , air filter and cabin filter on it better record that my last Mazda 3 only things to note are gas mileage is less than advertised (but Kia has program to reimburse owners for the life of the car the difference in cash) and the seats on long hauls bit uncomfortable ) but they are made from caster beans so price I pay for the fact they can be recycled) recommend highly."

Great value!

By on Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"Pros: Fuel economy Reliability drives best at highway speeds excellent warranty Best bang for the buck. Comes with blue tooth, real rims (I can actaually see my brakes!) turn signal mirrors, keyless entry, built in hard drive for music, leather wrapped steering wheel, soft touch plastic, fold down seats, and more. cheap to maintian cons: drivers arm rest paint is flaking off after only 10mos 20,000mi but is getting replaced thanks to the great warranty. Makes a strange noise sometimes (sounds like exhuast shield?) very faint, not enough to bother me. not the best handling car in the world. driver and car dont feel connected. (probably due to the electiric steering in part) Overall if I had it to do all over again I probably would have gone with a used car vs a new one however I am very please with the 2013 kia rio EX"

6 people out of 13 found this review helpful

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