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In today’s market, it can be hard to find a new car under $20,000. Such a car might please frugal buyers, but it may have little appeal to anyone else. Let’s examine whether the Kia Rio is actually a noteworthy vehicle or simply a bargain for anyone who needs a decent transportation method. 

How much is a 2023 Kia Rio?

The 2023 Kia Rio LX sedan currently retails for $16,750. Its powertrain is predictably unremarkable, consisting of a 120-hp turbo-four engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is the only available drivetrain option. The LX trim features a basic sound system, an 8.0-inch infotainment screen, and wireless smartphone integration. Advanced driver’s aids are only available through the Technology Package, which can’t be added to the Rio LX.

The Kia Rio only has one upper trim, and it’s the only one that can be had with the available hatchback body style. That variation starts at $17,690 and the S sedan is $300 cheaper. These models gain basic cruise control and can be optioned with push-button start. 

The Technology package includes driver attention monitoring, rear occupant alert, LED headlights, multiple lane-keeping assist functions, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. It also has other miscellaneous upgrades, such as dual-zone automatic climate control and chrome door handles. The entire bundle costs $1,800, still keeping you under the new cars under $20,000 line.

Should you get a Rio as a new car for under $20,000?

From the outside, the Kia Rio looks somewhat uninteresting compared to some of Kia’s flashier sedans. However, the interior features shiny metal accents and nice texturing on the cloth seats for added appeal. While it lacks many of the creature comforts present in other small cars, at least you have the option to purchase more safety features. 

If you’re looking for a fuel-efficient new car under $20,000, the Kia Rio is an undeniably good buy. It has an estimated mileage of 32/41 mpg city/highway. Those 120 hp likely aren’t sufficient for the quickest highway acceleration, but they should be fine for slow-paced driving around town. 

You might find more value in a Kia Rio if you get one with more features. Even with every optional upgrade that Kia advertises, a fully loaded Rio hatchback costs less than $20,000. The Kia Rio hatchback also offers more utility, featuring over 17 cubic feet of storage behind the rear row. The sedan’s trunk is less than 14 cubes deep. 

Every Kia Rio hatchback also features a 60/40 split-folding rear seat and a low-load floor. It’s definitely no hot hatch, but it has a decent 0-60 mph time of 8.6 seconds

You won’t be able to buy a new Kia Rio next year

According to AutoNews, the Rio won’t be included in Kia’s 2024 lineup. The automaker wants to focus more on selling its SUVs, though clarified that it wouldn’t stop selling sedans entirely. If you want to get a Rio eligible for new car incentives from dealers, now’s the time to buy one. 

More than likely, the Kia Rio’s price tag will get even cheaper once it’s discontinued. Dealers will be eager to sell off their remaining Rio inventory, which could mean extra savings if you can find a new model. Discontinued cars are also cheaper on the used market, though these might have a few thousand miles already on the odometer. 

Fortunately, Kia has been named by many reputable sources as one of the most reliable car brands. A year or two’s worth of miles is only a fraction of the Rio’s estimated lifespan. Combined with its superb fuel economy estimates and well-built interior, it’s worth recommending to anyone who needs a cheap car. 


Another Sedan Is Gone: Believe It or Not, Kia Is Killing the Rio