Avoid the 2023 Kia Rio if You Want a Good Deal on a Small Car Right Now

Kia makes some of the most affordable small cars, including the Forte and Rio. However, economy cars are also known for their bland interiors and middling ride quality. Fortunately, most Kia models offer impressive accommodations and plenty of tech features. But some dealerships are making it impossible to take advantage of Kia’s low prices. For instance, the 2023 Kia Rio might be overpriced in your area thanks to inflation and demand. Here’s what you might pay for a new Kia Rio, plus some other compact cars to consider.

Dealer markups aren’t a problem exclusive to Kia

According to Consumer Reports, getting many new Kia or Hyundai cars for their typical asking prices is challenging. Buyers currently pay an average of $49,749 for a new Kia Carnival, a 20% premium over its MSRP. Buyers have reported paying 18% over the MSRPs of the Kia Sportage, Telluride, and Sorento Hybrid.

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is also popular, resulting in an average markup of 17%. If you want a new Tucson Hybrid, you could pay almost $40,000 instead of its $33,860 starting price.

How much does a 2023 Kia Rio cost right now?

Front angle view of blue 2023 Kia Rio subcompact sedan, the cheapest new Kia car
2023 Kia Rio | Kia

Kia has priced the standard 2023 Rio for $16,550 before fees. But CR says the average buyer spends $20,461 on a new Kia Rio. That’s 17% over MSRP.

Every 2023 Kia Rio trim gets a 120-hp turbo-four, a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and 36 mpg city/highway combined.

The Kia Rio LX has basic cloth seats for five riders and a manually adjustable driver’s seat. Standard technology includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, and wireless smartphone integration. Unless you upgrade to the S trim, the only advanced safety feature is a backup camera.

Though the Kia Rio LX is exclusively a sedan, the Kia Rio S can be optioned as a hatchback. The latter provides a split-folding rear seat that maximizes the car’s cargo capacity to nearly 33 cubic feet. The standard sedan’s trunk has only about 14 cubic feet of storage space.

Cruise control comes standard on the Rio S, and every other advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) comes through the optional S Technology package. It includes lane-keeping technology, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear occupant alert, and LED headlights. The 2023 Kia Rio currently doesn’t offer any seating upgrades.

Here are other small cars you might like instead of the 2023 Kia Rio

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If you have no choice but to spend the extra money, the Toyota Corolla might be better than the 2023 Kia Rio. The base Corolla starts at $21,550 and includes a 169-hp four-cylinder engine. You’ll get almost every advanced safety feature as standard equipment in the Corolla LE, plus a digital assistant that responds to voice commands.

The Honda Civic is slightly more expensive, retailing for $24,650. It’s almost as powerful as the Corolla LE, and the Sport trim also has a reputation for delightful handling. In addition, the Civic offers more attractive extras than the Rio, including a moonroof and Bose sound system.

Starting at $15,730, the Nissan Versa is cheaper than the Kia Rio. Both share similar power outputs and fuel economy ratings, but the Versa provides several ADAS features as standard equipment. In addition, smartphone integration comes standard on the Versa SV, starting at $19,020.

A fully loaded Nissan Versa SR can be optioned with heated seats, though its final price will be closer to $20,000. That’s only $400 more than the range-topping Hyundai Accent, another small car that offers more standard convenience features than the Rio.

Compared to its rivals, the 2023 Kia Rio is too basic to be a good deal at its current markup.