We got our first look at the redesigned 2018 Kia Rio last fall at the Paris Auto Show but the automaker waited until New York to provide details on the U.S. version of its entry level subcompact. Slightly larger and more accommodating than the vehicle it replaces, the recast fourth-generation Rio will be available here in LX/S/EX trim grades and continue to offer the choice of 4-door sedans and 5-door hatchbacks. The Rio promises to deliver greater creature comforts, more cabin space and better dynamics

Beyond more crisply rendered bodywork and a fresher take on Kia’s signature grille, the new Rio’s restyling brings more upright pillars and shorter front/rear overhangs along with a slight wheelbase stretch that helps both appearance and packaging. Equally key, the 2018 Rio rides on all-new platform that uses a greater percentage of high-strength steel to create a more rigid and robust structure that also provides better NVH characteristics. The Rio benefits from a redone MacPherson strut front/torsion-beam rear suspension which gives the vehicle a more confident feel and enhanced ride.

Also: Check out all of the latest news from the New York Auto Show

More accommodating

The Rio’s makeover has yielded tangible benefits inside as well, with its slightly larger and better-appointed passenger compartment providing more shoulder room and legroom in both rows. New slim-line front buckets also boast greater comfort and support while its reconfigured dash and revised center console look sharper and feature improved control layouts and better functionality. The Rio’s roster of standard equipment rises as you move up the model hierarchy, but all come with air conditioning, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, a 6-speaker stereo, satellite radio and a rear-view camera. The Rio EX also can be fitted with a new infotainment system that includes a floating touchscreen interface with a 7.0-inch display, a UVO3 voice recognition infotainment system and integrated Android Auto and Apple CarPlay apps.

Sole engine in all 2018 Rio models is a revised version of the current 1.6-liter direct-injected Gamma 4-cylinder that now makes 130 horsepower and 119 lb-ft of peak torque. While those numbers fall 8 and 4 respective output units shy of the current engine, Kia anticipates the new Rio will deliver improved fuel economy, have better responsiveness and enhanced low-speed driving dynamics whether fitted with the standard 6-speed manual transmission or optional 6-speed automatic. Hoping to earn 5-Star crash ratings from NHTSA, the 2018 Rio's safety equipment includes six airbags, electronic stability control, hill-start assist and vehicle stability management with a new autonomous emergency braking option. 

Also: Class of 2018: The New and Redesigned Cars, Trucks and SUVs

The 2018 Kia Rio will arrive in showrooms later this year. While official pricing has not been announced, Orth Hedrick, Kia vice president of product planning, said: “Value has always been a core tenet for the Kia brand and the all-new Rio sedan and 5-door continue to underscore our commitment to those buyers looking for an entry-level vehicle but desire more than what the subcompact segment currently offers.”

More Subcompact Cars:

2017 Chevrolet Sonic freshened and adds new features  

2018 Ford Fiesta ST: Taking 3-cylinders to new heights

2017 Hyundai Accent Value Edition revealed


New Car Spotlight


Free Dealer Price Quote

Get the best price and be more prepared with your free, no-obligation price quote