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Article Highlights:

  • At $16,150 the Rio is one cheap car
  • The Kia Rio hatchback is worth the extra cash
  • The Chevy Spark is cheaper, but its not better

Your typical “econobox” car doesn’t have much to it. Or at least, for a lot of manufacturers, Kia included, they didn’t for a long time. However, as time has gone on, cars like the 2022 Kia Rio have become more than just a box to transport you from point A to point B. Now, consumers expect much more from their subcompact cars, and the new Rio wants to deliver.

The 2022 Kia Rio gets a CVT transmission and not much else

A red Rio hatchback shot in profile on a city side street
The Rio brings a lot to a very small segment | Kia

While there’s a lot to like in the new Rio, there’s also not a lot to it. Despite a host of upgrades compared to the Rio of yesteryear, the formula has largely remained the same. Small motor, small car, big savings. One of the best examples of that philosophy is fuel economy. The 2022 Kia Rio will average a massive 41 MPG combined. That’s better than some used hybrid models, like the Toyota Camry. Unfortunately, Kia cut out the cost-saving manual transmission for 2022, opting for a CVT instead.

Happily, you can have a hatchback Rio for just a few thousand more than a base model, at $17,090. Much like the 2022 Honda Civic, the hatchback is the way to go. Subcompact cars are, well, compact. Maximizing that storage space is key in a car with a mere 172.6 inches in overall length. In total, the hatchback ends up with 17.4 cu-ft compared to the sedan’s 13.7 cu-ft. There’s also standard Apple Carplay and Andriod Auto.

Is the Rio better than the Chevy Spark?

A red 2022 Kia Rio hatchback shot from the high 3/4 on a city side street
The 2022 Kia Rio looks more expensive than it is | Kia

Nice features and a new, updated interior are great, but how does the pricing stack up? In that regard, at least, the Chevy Spark wins out. That starts at $14,595. The sedan 2022 Kia Rio will run you a few bucks less than the $16,150 for the LX trim and $16,790 for the S trim level. The hatchback, by the way, is only available in the S trim for the price above. From there on, it’s all downsides for the Spark. The Rio beats it out in just about every regard.

First, there’s Kia’s 10-year 100,000-mile warranty, significantly better than anything on offer from Chevrolet. The Spark also gets worse fuel economy, a huge factor in this segment. So long as you have the hatchback Rio (which you should), the 2022 Kia Rio also beats out the Spark there. However, the Spark scores a win with a manual transmission.

Is the 2022 Rio enough car for you?

The interior of the 2022 Kia Rio shot from the rear seats
The Rio’s interior knocks it out of the park | Kia

Bet You Didn’t Know a Fully Loaded 2021 Kia Forte Has a Manual Transmission

The 2022 Kia Rio seems to be the subcompact to beat, to say the least. However, its size can’t be ignored. The Rio is a small car, and that’s not the right choice for many people. However, if it is, you really can’t go wrong with this subcompact hatchback.