2018 Rio New Car Test Drive
Redesigned for 2018, the Kia Rio subcompact sedan and hatchback show numerous improvements over the outgoing model. All-new and beginning its fourth generation, the 2018 Rio is slightly lower and wider than before.
The 2018 Rio comes with a new 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 130 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque, slightly less than previously, but improved drivability is promised. As before, Rio is front-wheel drive.
Autonomous emergency braking is available. UVO3 infotainment has been upgraded with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability are available.
The four-door sedans and five-door hatchbacks each come in LX, S, or EX trim level. Aside from selecting the desired trim and body color, buyers have little choice, since no options are offered.
Hatchbacks benefit most from the new look for 2018, but they're handily outsold by sedans. The new sedan's proportions appear less frumpy.
EX trim level comes not only with emergency braking, but all-disc brakes (instead of rear drums) and better-quality seats.
Otherwise, Kia hasn't given its entry-level duo much in the way of up-to-date safety equipment. Despite the fact that rearview cameras will soon be mandatory, it's standard only on S and EX models. Blind-spot monitoring isn't offered at all, despite the Rio's obtrusively thick rear pillars (especially on hatchbacks).
Rio LX sedan ($13,900) and hatchback ($14,200) come with cloth seats, manual windows, air conditioning, satellite radio, steering-wheel audio controls, 15-inch steel wheels, and manual transmission. Also available is LX automatic sedan ($14,990) and hatchback ($15,290). (Prices are MSRP and do not include $895 destination charge.)
Rio S sedan ($16,100) and hatchback ($16,400) add a rearview camera, cruise control, 5.0-inch display, remote keyless entry, Bluetooth connectivity, power windows, and a split-folding rear seat. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard. Rio EX sedan ($18,400) and hatchback ($18,700) upgrade to UVO3 infotainment with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, rear disc brakes, 15-inch alloy wheels, a 3.5-inch information screen, embossed cloth seat trim, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Autonomous emergency braking is standard.
A Launch Edition package ($500) includes leather inserts in the seats.