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2015 Kia Rio Review

The 2015 Kia Rio is a high-ranking subcompact car that has an upscale cabin in all but the base trim, trouble-free tech features, spry acceleration, and a perfect reliability rating.

Pros & Cons

  • Brisk acceleration
  • Premium cabin materials in higher trims
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Perfect reliability rating
  • Stiff ride on uneven pavement (SX trim)

Rankings & Awards

The 2015 Kia Rio's #1 ranking is based on its score within the 2015 Subcompact Cars category. It was a finalist for our 2015 Best Subcompact Car for the Money award. Currently the Kia Rio has a score of 8.8 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 47 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 7.0
Interior: 8.5
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.5
Safety: 8.4
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2015 Kia Rio Overview

Is the 2015 Kia Rio a Good Used Car?

Available as a sedan or hatchback, the 2015 Kia Rio is an outstanding subcompact car. From its cabin to its performance, the Rio has what most shoppers in this class are looking for. This car’s engine packs a punch and delivers highway-ready acceleration. In all but the base trim, the Rio has one of the most upscale interiors in the class and one of the best infotainment systems. The Kia Rio is also one of two cars in the class to receive a perfect reliability rating. The Rio’s few letdowns include below-average safety scores, a short features list in lower trims, and a harsh ride in the sport-tuned SX trim. 

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Why You Can Trust Us

Our used car rankings and reviews are based on our analysis of professional automotive reviews, as well as data like crash test scores, reliability ratings, and ownership expenses. We researched 47 Kia Rio reviews to help you decide if it’s the right used car for you.

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has a combined 75 years of automotive industry experience. To ensure our impartiality, our staff never takes expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2015 Kia Rio?

There are nearly 110 listings for the 2015 Kia Rio on our site, with an average list price of $9,800. Prices range from $7,500 to $13,000, and vary depending on the vehicle’s trim, mileage, location, condition, and features.

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How Much Does the 2015 Kia Rio Cost to Own?

The 2015 Kia Rio’s five-year estimated costs for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs come to about $22,720, which is on the low end for the class.  

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Kia Rio?

The 2019 Kia Rio has a starting price of $13,900, and the top-of-the-line trim starts at $18,400. A 2019 model is a better choice because it comes with more standard features than the 2015, including a 5-inch touch screen and power door locks. It also has more available features, such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

Read about the new Kia Rio »

There are no new subcompact cars with starting prices that are comparable to the average price of a used 2015 Kia Rio.

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Which Model Year of the Kia Rio Is Best?

This 2015 Kia Rio is part of a generation that spanned the 2012 through 2017 model years. It has seen few changes over the years. An automatic transmission became standard in hatchback models for 2016, and Kia discontinued the four-door SX model for 2017.

You’ll get more tech features with the redesigned 2018 model, and it has a better infotainment system than previous models. If you can live without these updates, consider models from 2015 through 2017 to save money without sacrificing much in the way of features.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Rio »

How Reliable Is the 2015 Kia Rio?

The 2015 Rio earns a perfect reliability rating of five out of five from J.D. Power. The 2015 Toyota Prius c is the only other subcompact car to achieve this rating.   

Read more about Rio reliability »

2015 Kia Rio Recalls

As of this writing, the 2015 Kia Rio has no reported recalls.

See more information on Kia Rio safety recalls »

Which Used Kia Rio Model Is Right for Me?

The 2015 Kia Rio is available as a sedan or hatchback. There are three trims: LX, EX, and SX. Most shoppers should skip the base model, which has lackluster interior quality and no power windows. The Rio EX offers more features, including power windows, Bluetooth, and cruise control.

If you want even more technology, the Rio SX is the way to go. It adds a rearview camera, heated front seats, leather upholstery, a sunroof, push-button start with proximity key. The standard UVO infotainment system features navigation, voice commands, and a touch screen. The SX also has a sport-tuned suspension. For maximum cargo space, choose a hatchback of any trim level. 

See 2015 Kia Rio trims and specs »

What Does Kia's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Kia offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 60,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Kia’s certified pre-owned vehicles receive the balance of the original 10-year/100,000-mile new-car powertrain warranty as well as a one-year/12,000-mile comprehensive Platinum warranty on non-powertrain parts. Every CPO Kia must pass a 164-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Kia warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Kia has one of the best CPO programs among affordable car manufacturers.

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How Safe Is the Rio?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2015 Rio sedan and hatchback an overall rating of four out of five stars, with four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests and five stars in the side crash tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2015 Rio sedan the highest rating of Good in three tests out of five. It received the second-lowest rating of Marginal in the driver-side small overlap front test and the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the side crash test.

The 2015 Rio is only available with a rearview camera. Most competitors are available with a number of driver assistance features like blind spot monitoring and forward collision warning.

See Rio safety scores »

2015 Kia Rio Versus the Competition

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

The Rio doesn’t have as much space as the 2015 Kia Forte, a compact car. Both models have technology features that are intuitive yet limited.  These two Kia models are agile around turns, but they have harsher rides than their competitors. The Rio is the car to choose if you want something nimble and lightweight with zippy acceleration and excellent gas mileage. Or, go with the Forte if you need more adult-friendly passenger space and a roomy trunk.

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

The 2015 Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio share the same platform. They both have the same four-cylinder engine, as well as similar fuel economy estimates, cargo dimensions, and reliability ratings. The main difference between the two is their interior quality. The upper trims of the Kia feel more upscale inside than the Hyundai. The Rio’s average list price is lower than the Accent’s as well, giving you one more reason to pick the Kia over the Hyundai.

Compare the Rio, Forte, and Accent »

2015 Kia Rio Performance

How Does the 2015 Kia Rio Drive?

The standard 138-horsepower four-cylinder engine that helps the 2015 Kia Rio deliver speedy acceleration. A six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard; a six-speed automatic transmission is available. Both transmissions perform well, but the automatic is smoother.

The Rio has accurate steering and feels relatively controlled on the highway. That said, it isn't quite as agile as some class rivals, unless you opt for the sport-tuned Rio SX trim. However, this model has a harsh ride.

Does the 2015 Kia Rio Get Good Gas Mileage?

Fuel economy is adequate for the class, with an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.

Read more about Rio performance »

2015 Kia Rio Interior

How Many People Does the 2015 Kia Rio Seat?

In both sedan and hatchback body styles, the 2015 Kia Rio seats five on standard cloth upholstery. There’s plenty of head- and legroom up front, but adults in the rear seats may feel cramped due to limited legroom. Interior material quality and styling in the base trim is disappointing. However, upper trims have some of the nicest-looking cabins in the class. The Rio’s interior also has a surprising amount of road, engine, and wind noise – especially in the SX trim.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2015 Kia Rio?

The outboard rear seats have two full sets of LATCH child-seat connectors, and the middle seat has a tether-only connection.

2015 Kia Rio Features

The 2015 Rio comes standard with a four-speaker audio system that includes a CD player, satellite radio, a USB port, an auxiliary audio input, and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. Available features include power windows and door locks, keyless entry, push-button start, a sunroof, automatic headlights, cruise control, navigation, Bluetooth, and Kia’s voice-activated UVO infotainment system with a touch screen.

The available UVO infotainment system is one of the best in the class, with simple controls, an intuitive menu structure, and crisp graphics.

See 2015 Kia Rio specs »

Read more about Rio interior »

2015 Kia Rio Dimensions

Kia Rio Cargo Space

The 2015 Rio sedan has 13.7 cubic feet of trunk space, which is typical for the subcompact car class. The hatchback has 15 cubic feet behind the back seats and 49.8 cubic feet with them folded, which is quite roomy for the class. The Rio comes standard with 60/40 split-folding rear seats.

2015 Rio Length and Weight

The 2015 Kia Rio sedan is 14.3 feet long, and the hatchback is 13.3 feet long. The sedan’s curb weight ranges from 2,494 to 2,613 pounds. Kia has not provided a curb weight range for the Rio hatchback.

Where Was the 2015 Kia Rio Built?

Kia assembled the 2015 Rio in Mexico and South Korea.  

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