Available as a hatchback or sedan and in three, easy-to-understand trim levels, the redesigned 2018 Kia Rio is a subcompact car that is simple yet sophisticated. On the outside, it has an all-new look that is grown-up and stylish. On the inside, the Rio is well-assembled and is relatively spacious considering its size.
Under the hood, the Rio gets a reworked version of Kia's 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. It has slightly less power compared to last year (130 horsepower versus last year's 138), but Kia says it decided to trade peak power for more usable power, meaning that the Rio feels stronger at the lower engine speeds drivers encounter most often.
The inside also has been upgraded, and while hard plastics still abound, it feels very solidly built. The redesigned dash and gauge cluster manage to look upscale as well, so even though the Rio is a budget-priced car, it doesn't feel cheap. We think the interior presents itself better than those of cars costing thousands more.
Overall, we're impressed with this little Kia. If you're in the market for a subcompact sedan or hatchback, the 2018 Kia Rio is absolutely worth checking out.
The subcompact 2018 Kia Rio is available as either a sedan or a four-door hatchback. Both the hatchback and sedan are sold in three different trim levels: base LX, midlevel S and top-level EX.
For the base LX, standard features include a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine (130 horsepower, 119 pound-feet of torque), a six-speed manual transmission (a six-speed automatic is an available option), 15-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, air conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-only steering wheel, a trip computer, a rearview camera, and a four-speaker sound system with a 5-inch display, satellite radio, a USB port and an auxiliary audio input jack.
The midlevel Rio S adds to the standard equipment with keyless entry, heated power mirrors, power windows, cruise control, map lights, a sliding center console armrest and storage area, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, an extra USB port (charging only), a rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity and a six-speaker audio system.
The top-of-the-line EX includes the Rio S' standard equipment and adds 15-inch alloy wheels, a chrome grille surround, foglights, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a forward collision warning system with automatic braking, upgraded cloth upholstery, dual illuminated vanity mirrors and an upgraded 7-inch center display with Kia's Uvo infotainment system (which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto). The EX's Launch Edition package adds red interior trim and partial leather accents.