Consumer Reports: The Kia Rio is Straight Basic

Kia has made quite the splash this year. For example, its brand-new Telluride SUV has been crushing the competition and its Sorento model has been celebrated for top safety features as well. But, even the best of the best don’t get everything right and the subcompact Kia Rio is proof of that.

It brings the noise but in a bad way

2020 Rio ⎹ Kia

Affordability and value are the two most important factors when it comes to picking a subcompact car. Although, prioritizing value doesn’t mean you have to settle for boring. While the Kia Rio does get some things right, its bland nature almost overshadows many of its notable features. 

Consumer Reports specifically panned the 2020 model for being humdrum and unsatisfying. The Rio’s exterior is basic, step inside and the interior is basic too. Design aside, the interior cabin is also very loud and noisy which minimizes its driving experience. 

Another drawback interior-wise is that the cabin is not very spacious, so if you have long legs you might really want to pass on this one. Also, the seats are rigid and unsupportive. The cargo space is at best, average.

The best part of the Rio’s interior is its in-car electronics, which are very user-friendly. It features a 7-inch touchscreen display with a rear camera. It’s also compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other standard features are SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth, and USB port connectivity.

Performance capabilities

In 2020, the Rio has a new four-cylinder engine and continuously variable automatic transmission. With this update though came a slight decrease in horsepower, and the Rio wasn’t the speediest, to begin with. 

Still, the new engine and transmission do a much better job in boosting the Rio’s overall performance so there’s that.CR says that the best thing about this subcompact is its fuel-efficiency which has a real-world 33 mpg. However, other small cars can accomplish the same mileage. 

Ways to spice up this ride

Rio Interior ⎹ Kia

Even though the Rio is extremely basic and not the most comfortable, it’s not all bad. However, the available added features will cost you. Overall, this subcompact is very safe and proficient.  As far as advanced driver-assist functionality goes, the standard Rio model doesn’t have any. It lists airbags as its leading safety features and that’s not all that impressive. 

If you go for the upgraded S sedan version, you will get advanced driver-assist features, but not very many. The available advanced driver-assist features include forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking. However, CR points out that by the time you upgrade the Rio with Kia’s fancier feature,s you are closer to the price of a compact car which is an additional reason not to buy.

The final verdict

The 2020 Rio is a safe ride and its affordable with a starting price of $15,850. The upgraded Rio S model is a little more with a starting price of $16,490. While this is an economical option, vehicles like the Toyota Yaris LE offer more value.