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When an automaker discontinues a model, a few fans feel left out. Like when Honda retired the Honda Fit in the U.S. after 2020. Subcompact car consumers were understandably disgruntled. It may be worth your while to check out the 2021 Kia Rio if you’re missing the Honda Fit this year. Kia Rio aims to bring the value proposition that some former Honda Fit buyers miss most.

The discontinuation of other subcompact cars

A blue 2021 Kia Rio sedan on a solid white background and floor.
2021 Kia Rio | 2021 Kia America, Inc.

The 2020 Honda Fit isn’t the only subcompact car leaving the market. Car and Driver points out a few others that are no longer available or plan to be discontinued, including the Toyota Yaris, the Chevy Sonic, and the Ford Fiesta. It’s not that these cars were necessarily poor in design or lacked features, either. The subcompact car segment just continues to be less and less popular among consumers who prefer their sporty performance sedans, spacious SUVs, and capable pickups instead. And much of the data points to the increasing popularity in the compact and subcompact SUV space over the tiny sedans.

Used car pricing continues to skyrocket in response to the pandemic-driven automotive shuttering and furloughs of early 2020. And now, those discontinued value-proposition subcompact cars would sure be handy for the budget-conscious consumer. Only a handful of vehicles are still available today under the $20,000 MSRP threshold. And the 2021 Kia Rio is one of them, in a prime position to make Honda Fit and subcompact sedan lovers very happy.

The 2021 Kia Rio continues to impress for less than $20,000

The 2021 Kia Rio feels like a stroll down memory lane, back when solid, honest small cars were the norm on dealership showrooms. But today, there’s hardly a contender, making the Rio the win-win. Car and Driver critics tested the Rio and complimented its sophistication on the road. They also love all the additions that come with the S Technology Package. It may be a cheap buy, but you won’t certainly feel cheap with an eight-inch touchscreen, proximity-key entry systems, and a pushbutton start. 

The assessments also suggest that the steering feels confident and weighted while the engine runs quiet and smooth. Every Kia Rio comes with a 120-hp 1.6-liter inline-four. And you’ll only have two trims, according to Edmunds, the LX, and the S. But again, it’s that technology package that brings all the goodies, including a hefty menu of driver aids, like forward collision and lane departure tech, along with lane-following assist and driver attention warning systems.

A few drawbacks you should know before buying

Subcompact cars aren’t for everyone. And the 2021 Kia Rio isn’t perfect. Some point out the less-than-inspiring style of either the four-door version or the hatchback. The Rio only comes in a front-wheel-driver offering, too, where many other sized sedans are harnessing all-wheel-drive instead. Some consider the Rio too small for what they need and let’s be honest, 120 horses aren’t going to feel all that peppy. However, despite its slow and tiny nature, critics continue to praise it, including MotorTrend, whose team rated it 8.1 out of 10 and first in the subcompact sedan class.

You might think you won’t be getting much when the Kia Rio ranges from $16,050 to $16,690. Think again. This may be the little subcompact that could, and it’s in a prime position to deliver the most significant value in this tiny car space. 


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