By KBB.com Editors
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.