$5,471 - $8,126

2012 Kia Rio Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2012 Kia Rio was new.


Interior: 8.4

The 2011 Kia Rio was known for its cheap interior, few standard features and uncomfortable rear seats. All that has changed for 2012, and reviewers are pleased with the Rio’s cabin because it has an impressive list of standard features, good cargo space and a quality feel that was absent in the 2011 model.

  • "The styling is truly standout and the interior is smartly laid out with large controls, a nice leather-wrapped steering wheel and smartly placed soft-touch surfaces to give the cabin a upscale feel. With the available navigation with a seven-inch screen or the UVO hands-free system developed by Microsoft, it offers some nice premium touches." -- AutoWeek
  • "Interior is an attractive combination of hard plastics and strategically placed soft-touch surfaces. Overall, the cabin presents well for the class with simple, tasteful detailing." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The Rio's cabin boasts very good build and materials quality. Although there is a lot of hard plastic trim, it is nicely grained and doesn't scream economy car." -- Edmunds


The 2012 Kia Rio’s seats receive a hodgepodge of comments ranging from comfortable to adequate. There’s plenty of headroom, but test drivers take issue with front- and rear-seat legroom because two tall people won’t be able to sit behind each other comfortably. But that’s not an uncommon complaint in this class. However, if you have young children, or if chauffeuring adults is a rare event, the Rio’s seats should suit you just fine.

  • "Nicely bolstered front seats upholstered with cloth nicer than the econocar norm provided daylong comfort for this jetlagged driver." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Headroom is generous, even for six footers. Legroom is more of a challenge, but a taller male should be able to fit behind another of like size for at least a short journey with some cooperation on front-seat placement." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Still, at 5-foot-10, we're not using quite all the front-seat track travel. We also have enough room to sit in back, though the hard plastic on the front seatbacks is uncomfortable when our knees brush against it." -- Edmunds

Interior Features

Many car reviewers are quite impressed with the Kia Rio’s cabin. Not only are controls clearly marked and easy to use, but the materials they’re made of and their positioning in the dash remind reviewers of the Volkswagen Golf, which is very high praise.

Standard on the 2012 Rio are satellite radio, a USB port and steering-wheel mounted audio buttons. UVO, which is Kia’s voice-activated infotainment system, navigation, Bluetooth, steering wheel-mounted Bluetooth controls and cruise control are all optional.

  • "Simple, straight forward controls are well marked and easy to use. The radio is mounted high on the dash and the climate controls a bit low, but both are easy to use with a combination of buttons and knobs. The gauges are clearly marked and easy to read." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The list of standard features is impressive, including power outside mirrors with defrosting, satellite radio, air conditioning, and steering-wheel audio controls. It's easy to take such features for granted, but pretty easy, too, to find competitors without them." -- USA Today


Overall, the 2012 Kia Rio has a good amount of cargo space for the class, with 13.7 cubic feet in the sedan’s trunk, and 15 cubic feet behind the hatchback’s rear seats. The seats in both models fold, but not flat. With the rear seats folded, the Rio hatchback’s cargo space increases to 49.8 cubic feet. One reviewer says that since the rear opening of the hatchback is small and the load floor is high, it may be difficult to load large items.

  • "They fold almost completely flat on our hatchback (we have yet to sample a sedan), creating one of the larger rear holds in the segment. However, the relatively small hatch opening and high bottom ledge will limit its ability to swallow bulky items." -- Automobile Magazine

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