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8.1

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.6
Performance: 7.7
Interior: 8.3
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.5
Safety: 8.5
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2015 Kia Rio Review

The Kia Rio pleases with its premium cabin, great tech features, and zippy engine. However, its so-so safety ratings keep it from ranking in the top of its class.

Pros & Cons

 

  • Brisk acceleration
  • Premium cabin materials in higher trims
  • User-friendly infotainment system

 

 

  • Stiff ride on uneven pavement (SX trim)

 

2015 Kia Rio Overview

Is the 2015 Kia Rio a Good Used Car?

The 2015 Kia Rio is a fine option if you’re shopping for a used subcompact car. The Rio, available both as a sedan and hatchback, offers spry engine performance, a superb infotainment system, and a stylish cabin with the look and feel of a much pricier vehicle. It’s a practical people- or cargo-hauler – and an attractive buy, considering Kia’s lengthy certified pre-owned warranty. That said, its safety ratings fall short of class leaders like the Honda Fit and Chevrolet Sonic. Before deciding on the Rio, you’ll want to give these highly rated models a look.

Used 2015 Kia Rio Performance and Interior

The Kia Rio has a 138-horsepower four-cylinder engine. A six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard; a six-speed automatic transmission is available. The potent engine zips the Rio up to speed confidently. Both transmissions are well-mannered, though the automatic earns particular praise for its smooth shifts and refinement. Fuel economy is decent for the class at 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.

The Rio has accurate and well-weighted steering, which helps it feel composed at highway speeds and fairly nimble on city streets. Its suspension delivers a smooth and comfortable ride as well. That said, the Kia doesn’t feel as athletic or sporty as top rivals, like the Chevrolet Sonic. The Rio SX trim features a stiffer suspension to compensate, but it yields a firm and rather jarring ride over uneven pavement, with minimal handling benefits.

Read more about Rio performance »

The Kia Rio seats five in both sedan and hatchback body styles. Its front seats are comfortable and offer ample head- and legroom. The rear seats are less accommodating for adults due to tight legroom, but children should find them spacious enough. The Rio has two full sets of LATCH child-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats, as well as a middle-seat tether anchor. Cloth upholstery is standard; leather upholstery and heated front seats are available. The Rio sedan offers a decent 13.7 cubic feet of trunk space, which can expand by lowering the 60/40 split folding rear seats. The five-door Rio hatchback has up to an airy 49.8 cubic feet of cargo space with its rear seats folded.

On some trims, the Rio impresses with its premium interior and elegant styling. While base LX models are somewhat spartan, the Rio EX and SX models boast many soft-touch materials and tech components. Available features include Bluetooth, navigation, voice recognition, push-button start, and a 4.3-inch UVO touch screen. Kia’s UVO infotainment system is one of the easiest to use in the class. Its controls and menu structure are simple, and the screen has crisp graphics. One downside to the Rio’s interior is that a surprising amount of road, engine, and wind noise seeps into the cabin – especially in the SX trim.

Read more about Rio interior »

Used 2015 Kia Rio Prices

The price of a used 2015 Kia Rio ranges from about $9,700 for a base LX model to around $12,400 for the SX trim. The price will vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

We Did the Research for You: 43 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve researched 43 Kia Rio reviews alongside hard data points like reliability scores and costs of ownership to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

Why You Can Trust Us       

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars for a decade, and we have more than 75 years of automotive industry experience combined. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to giving helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse expensive gifts and trips from car companies, and the advertising on our site is handled by an outside team.

How Reliable Is the 2015 Kia Rio?

The Kia Rio has average predicted reliability, earning a rating of three out of five from J.D. Power and Associates.

Read more about Rio reliability »

How Safe Is the Rio?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Kia Rio the highest rating of Good for roof strength, seat safety, and moderate overlap front crash safety. The Rio received an Acceptable rating for side impact safety and a Marginal rating for small overlap front crash safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Rio four out of five stars overall and in its front and rollover crash testing. The Kia earned a perfect five-star rating for side impact testing. A rearview camera is standard in all SX models and available in some EX models.

See Rio safety scores »

Should I Consider Another Used Rio?

The 2015 Kia Rio marks the fourth model year of the vehicle’s third generation. There were no major updates to the Rio between its 2012 debut and the 2015 model year. As a result, you may find similarly equipped 2014, 2013, and even 2012 models at significantly lower prices.

Compare the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Rio »

Which Used Kia Rio Is Right for Me?

Kia offers the 2015 Rio sedan and hatchback in three trim levels: LX, EX, and SX. The Kia Rio LX has an AM/FM/satellite radio, a CD player, a USB input, air conditioning, cloth upholstery, and remote keyless entry. The Rio EX adds power windows, Bluetooth, and cruise control. The Rio SX adds a sport-tuned suspension, a 4.3-inch touch screen, a rearview camera, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift paddles, power-folding side mirrors, and auto on/off headlights. Notably, many of these features are available in the EX trim. The SX model’s Premium package adds a navigation system, heated front seats, leather upholstery, a sunroof, and push-button start with a proximity key.

You may want to consider a certified pre-owned Rio as well. Kia’s CPO vehicles receive the balance of the original 10-year/100,000-mile new-car powertrain warranty, plus a one-year/12,000-mile Platinum warranty for non-powertrain parts. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Kia warranty page carefully.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »

Read more about the Kia certified pre-owned program »

2015 Kia Rio and Other Cars to Consider

Which Is Better: 2015 Kia Rio or 2015 Hyundai Accent?

The 2015 Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio share a platform. Both have the same four-cylinder engine, as well as comparable fuel economy, cargo space, and reliability. The difference between the two comes in the form of interior quality. The Kia feels more upscale inside, and it’s available with a touch screen – one thing the Accent lacks. While you may pay a bit more for a used Rio, you’ll see the difference inside.

Which Is Better: 2015 Kia Rio or 2015 Ford Fiesta?

The 2015 Ford Fiesta has fun-to-drive handling and high fuel economy, but it’s not a great choice for used car buyers. The Fiesta lags far behind the Kia with its cramped interior and cargo spaces, lower safety and reliability ratings, and frustrating infotainment system.

Which Is Better: 2015 Kia Rio or 2015 Kia Forte?

The compact 2015 Kia Forte offers a few advantages over its subcompact Rio sibling. The Forte has a bit more rear-seat and cargo space and a slightly higher safety rating. It’s also available with zippier – albeit less fuel-efficient – engines. That’s where the advantages end, though. Both models have well-dressed cabins and share many of the same tech features. The Forte is a narrowly better car at about the same price point.

Compare the Rio, Accent, and Fiesta »

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