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The Kia Rio is the brand’s newest most-affordable vehicle. As a competitor in the small sedan segment, the Kia Rio boasts all the affordability and reliability Kia is known for, without sacrificing any quality. In fact, the newest 2020 Kia Rio may be just impressive enough to be both the cheapest and best sedan in its class.

The 2020 Kia Rio dominates the segment

Even considering the growing competitiveness of the subcompact car segment, MotorTrend still chooses the relatively new Kia Rio as its number-one pick among subcompact sedans.

The 2020 Kia Rio is MotorTrend’s obvious choice to win the top spot in its “Best Subcompact Sedans to Buy in 2020” list, stating that the affordable Rio “checks off the key boxes we look for in a best subcompact sedan.”

Even with five other quality sedans on the list to consider, the Kia Rio’s ability to combine value and quality wins over the experts.

Among the 2020 Kia Rio’s best attributes is its comfortable ride, good fuel economy, “class-above cabin,” and impressively low base price. It performs well in safety testing and even its sole powertrain is sufficiently powerful for its class.

Although the Rio might not come with as many driver-assistance technologies or as much cargo storage as rivals, it more than makes up for it with its overall value. What makes the Kia Rio best in its class is really its “array of standard features” that make the affordable sedan feel far from cheap. 

A long list of standard features make the 2020 Kia Rio an impressive value

There are only two available trim levels with the 2020 Rio, but both benefit from a new, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission that help improve fuel economy.

Exterior features are mostly the same for both trims, including 15-inch steel wheels, body-color door handles, heated power side mirrors, and tinted windows. Both trims lack most driver-assist features, but a rear-view monitor comes standard on both LX and S models.

The base trim, the LX, comes with a tremendously low base price of around $15,800. According to MotorTrend, the 2020 Kia Rio LX sedan comes standard with a 3.5-inch gauge cluster, 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, Bluetooth/Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility, USB port in the front, and a six-speaker audio system.

The seats are comfortable, the interior charming, and includes all the necessities like air conditioning, automatic headlights, and power windows and locks.

Every new Kia Rio also comes with the brand’s industry-leading warranty, which includes 10 years of limited powertrain coverage, as well as five years of basic/anti-perforation coverage and five years of roadside assistance.

Available options and additional features

A blue Kia Rio on display at an auto show
A Kia Rio on display | Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Kia Continues to Rack up Plenty Awards for Providing Great Value

Options for the base trim include an enhanced infotainment system that adds satellite radio, voice control, and vehicle data/telematics. The only other trim available for the 2020 Kia Rio is the S trim, which is available as either in sedan or hatchback configurations. Standard features and options are identical for both the S trim sedan and hatchback variants, however.

The Kia Rio S comes standard with additional features like a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, remote keyless entry, cruise control, adjustable rear-seat headrests, rear USB port, and a sliding front-row center armrest. Hatchback variants of the Rio get an improved 17.4 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk, over the sedan’s 13.7 cubic feet.

According to Car and Driver, the higher S trim starts around $17,000 for the sedan and $17,600 for the hatchback. Owners of S trim Rios also have the option of adding forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, LED headlights, and an upgraded tire-pressure monitoring system.