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The Kia Rio comes with the brand’s well-known affordability and efficiency. As one of its smallest and most affordable options in the lineup, the Rio sedan and hatchback are top sellers in the segment. But a low price tag doesn’t always mean big sacrifices, as the 2020 Kia Rio may also be the best new car you can possibly find for under $16,000.

Cheap doesn’t always mean cheap: the best new car you can buy for under $16,000

It might be harder to find a good, cheap car, but it’s not impossible. The experts at U.S. News recently compiled a list of “6 Best New Cars Under $16,000 in 2020” and it’s full of affordable, quality cars.

But out of the six cars that made it to the list, only one ranks the highest. According to U.S. News’ findings, the 2020 Kia Rio is ranked the highest of all new cars under $16,000, making it not only a bargain, but a good investment as well. With a starting price of around $15,000, it’s one of the cheapest new cars you can get.

There is no sacrifice for quality, either. When compared to its biggest rivals, the experts say “the Rio is a better car in many ways.” As the Kia Rio is here to prove, lower price tags don’t always mean cheap cars.

Why the 2020 Kia Rio is a great value

The 2020 Kia Rio doesn’t just come with an affordable price tag, as it earns an overall score by U.S. News of 8.1/10, placing it second among subcompact cars and seventh out of 29 small cars.

As if its scoring isn’t impressive enough, the Kia Rio is also at least thousands of dollars less than most. According to U.S. News experts, the 2020 Kia Rio has a “solid amount of passenger space,” an “attractive cabin,” “athletic handling,” “great fuel economy,” and more. 

The interior of the Rio has comfortable, roomy seating for up to five people and is designed with quality materials, with experts saying that it “looks upscale” for the price.

Its cargo capacity is competitive, even for subcompact car standards. The base model 2020 Kia Rios are well-equipped, with a standard 7.0-inch touchscreen, easy and user-friendly infotainment system, a rearview camera, and compatibility with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Siri Eyes Free. Splurging for extras like the hatchback body style, 60/40-folding seats, and automatic emergency braking won’t set you back much more.

Its 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine might be small, but its 120-hp is adequate power for the Nissan Rio, which handles smoothly and agile on the road. Paired to a new transmission, the Kia Rio delivers “some of the best fuel economy figures in the class” at an EPA-estimated 33 MPG in the city and 41 MPG on the highway.

How far your money will really go with the 2020 Kia Rio?

The Kia Rio has great tech features, good style, and is fun to drive. If you’re wondering why the price is so low for a car so great, you’re not the only one. According to Car and Driver, the 2020 Kia Rio “raises the bar for quality in its class-it just doesn’t overtake more spacious and feature-laden classmates.”

Although the infotainment system in the Rio is great, the compact car comes with “few driver assists,” which are considered common among most segments. In fact, virtually no advanced driver-assistance features come standard with the Kia Rio and the only available options include forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.

Experts also state that the Kia Rio’s back seat can be a little cramped for passengers, but this is common for the subcompact segment.


Consumer Reports: The Kia Rio is Straight Basic