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$3,174 - $4,164 $11,495 - $14,875

7.2

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.1
Performance: 7.0
Interior: 7.4
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.7
Safety: 7.1
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2009 Kia Rio Review

The 2009 Kia Rio is competent around town, but with few standard features and poor safety scores, the Rio gets trounced by the competition.  

Pros & Cons

  • Good gas mileage
  • Inexpensive
  • Poor safety scores
  • Short list of safety features
  • Cramped rear seats

2009 Kia Rio Overview

When it was new, the 2009 Kia Rio stood out because of its low starting price. But other than being an inexpensive commuter car, there were only a few things car reviewers liked about the 2009 Rio. They said interior quality was decent for the price, the front seats were comfortable and that the hatchback had good cargo space. But other than that, reviewers thought most other 2009 small cars were better choices. The Rio’s safety scores are among the lowest in the class. 

Both the back seat and trunk in the Rio are short on space. The base model also has few standard features. A four-speaker stereo is standard, but air conditioning isn’t. You also can’t get electronic stability control on any Rio model, but higher trims have anti-lock brakes. Test drivers were unimpressed with the Rio’s performance, expressing that the base engine had adequate power for city driving, but struggled in highway passing. The Rio’s fuel economy isn’t bad, however.

See the full 2009 Kia Rio/Rio5 specs »

Other Cars to Consider

If you want a commuter car that has more space for cargo and passengers, take a look at the 2008 Hyundai Elantra. Not only is it larger than the Rio, but it has much better safety scores. Like the Rio, the Elantra doesn’t have a lot of standard interior and safety features, but available features on the Elantra include satellite radio, leather seats, electronic stability control and brake assist.

Like the Kia Rio, the 2009 Toyota Yaris is available as a sedan and hatchback and makes a decent commuter car, though it has tight passenger accommodations. However, the Yaris has more standard features, including anti-lock brakes and air conditioning. Its safety scores are also much higher than the Rio’s.

Compare the Rio to the Elantra and Yaris »

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