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2018 Kia Rio Review

Spirited driving dynamics, a comfortable interior with user-friendly features, and an outstanding predicted reliability rating are among the reasons the 2018 Kia Rio places with the best in our subcompact car rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Outstanding predicted reliability rating
  • User-friendly infotainment systems
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto available
  • Nimble handling 
  • Base trim doesn't have power windows or cruise control
  • Ride may feel too firm for some




Critics' Rating: 8.7
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.0
Safety: 9.6
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Kia Rio Overview

Is the 2018 Kia Rio a Good Used Car?

Yes, the Kia Rio is a great, well-rounded used car that offers appealing elements for drivers and passengers alike. This subcompact car comes in both sedan and hatchback body styles.

The 2018 Rio has several strengths:

  • Excellent predicted reliability rating
  • Strong safety scores
  • Available infotainment system is intuitive and comes with appealing features
  • Driver's seat is comfortable and offers good visibility
  • Sprightly handling and a peppy engine

But it does have a couple weaknesses:

  • Essentials such as cruise control and power windows are missing from base Rio LX
  • Athletic-oriented suspension system results in a ride that may feel too firm for some
Why You Can Trust Us

Our Kia Rio review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from more than 17 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety scores, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing the Best Cars since 2007, backed by a team with more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To keep favoritism out of the picture, we maintain a separate advertising team and decline expensive gifts and trips from car companies.

How Much Is the 2018 Kia Rio?

Based on listings for the 2018 Kia Rio on our site, the average price is $13,100, which is below average for the class. Prices range from $11,600 to $16,000 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Kia Rio Cost to Own?

The 2018 Rio’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $21,000, or $4,200 per year. That’s typical for a subcompact car, and slightly less than what you'll pay for a 2018 Toyota Yaris or 2018 Nissan Versa.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Rio?

The new 2019 Rio comes standard with a rearview camera, Bluetooth, and power windows. However, you can still get these features in a midlevel 2018 Rio, which will also likely cost less than a 2019 model.

Read about the new Kia Rio »

For its 2018 redesign, the Rio got a standard touch-screen display in addition to new styling. This was also the first year Apple CarPlay and Android Auto became available. If the added tech and updated look aren't important to you, then consider a model from the Rio's previous generation. Built from 2012 to 2017, a first-generation Rio will likely cost less, and the hatchback body styles have a larger maximum cargo capacity.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Rio »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Kia Rio?

The 2018 Kia Rio has an excellent predicted reliability rating of 4.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Rio reliability »

Which Used Kia Rio Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Kia Rio comes in three trim levels: LX, S, and EX. Every trim comes with a four-cylinder engine and is available as a four-door sedan or a five-door hatchback. The base trim comes with either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic, while the upper trims are available only with the automatic transmission.

Unless you are in the market for a basic used car at the lowest possible price, you should skip the base Rio LX, which doesn't have power windows or cruise control. For the best value, look to the Rio S. In addition to essentials – such as a folding rear seat – it comes with Bluetooth connectivity, more USB ports, and a rearview camera. If you find a Rio EX within your price range, snap it up instead. The EX has the best infotainment system of the bunch, and it's the only trim that comes with automatic emergency braking.

  • Kia Rio LX: The base LX trim comes with a 5-inch touch screen, satellite radio, a four-speaker sound system, a USB port, air conditioning, power door locks, cloth seats, and a six-way manually adjustable driver's seat.
  • Kia Rio S: Power windows, cruise control, keyless entry, and a 60/40 split-folding back seat are added to the S trim level. This trim also comes with an automatic transmission, Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free, six speakers, two additional USB ports, and a rearview camera.
  • Kia Rio EX: Upgraded technology in the Rio EX includes the UVO infotainment interface, a 7-inch touch screen, voice recognition, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, automatic emergency braking, and forward collision warning. This trim also features premium cloth upholstery.

See 2018 Kia Rio trims and specs »

2018 Kia Rio Recalls

At the time of writing, there are no recalls for the 2018 Kia Rio.

See more information on Kia Rio safety recalls »

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.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Rio?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2018 Kia Rio sedan a Top Safety Pick+, the organization's highest safety designation. Both the sedan and hatchback models received the highest score of Good in every crash test but one. These cars received the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the passenger-side small overlap front test. The IIHS noted that models equipped with the available automatic emergency braking and forward collision provide the highest level of Superior front crash prevention. Models with the optional LED headlights earned the highest rating of Good for the headlights, while all others received the lowest rating of Poor.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not evaluated the 2018 Rio.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • none

Available advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera
  • automatic emergency braking
  • forward collision warning

See Rio safety scores »

2018 Kia Rio Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Kia Rio or 2018 Fit?

The 2018 Honda Fit doesn't have the same level of get-up-and-go as the Kia Rio, but beyond its sleepy engine, it's a wonderful subcompact car. Part of its appeal relates to the rear seat, which you can configure in many ways so you can haul a varied assortment of gear and passengers. If the Rio is spacious enough for you, though, we recommend staying with it instead. The Kia has a much higher predicted reliability rating and on average costs $4,700 less than the Honda.

Which Is Better: 2018 Kia Rio or 2018 Ford Fiesta?

If you want a small car that feels even zippier than a Kia Rio, take a spin in a 2018 Ford Fiesta. The Fiesta ST hatchback is especially fun to drive, thanks in part to its 197-horsepower turbocharged engine, six-speed manual transmission, and sport suspension. If these performance chops don't make your heart beat faster, you should stick with the roomier, more comfortable Rio.

Compare the Rio, Fit, and Fiesta »

2018 Rio Performance

How Does the 2018 Kia Rio Drive?

The Rio is a shade sportier than your typical subcompact car. It has a peppy engine that moves the car with ease, and a suspension system that imparts a degree of nimbleness. Though it isn't overly harsh, this stiffer suspension results in a ride that may feel too firm for some commuters. The steering and brakes are solid.

  • Base engine: 130-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard six-speed manual; available six-speed automatic
Does the 2018 Kia Rio Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Rio has an average fuel economy rating for a subcompact car.

  • 29/37 mpg city/highway

Read more about Rio performance »

2018 Rio Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Rio Seat?

The 2018 Rio has five seats. From the driver's seat, visibility is good, and its multiple adjustments (including one for height) make this perch comfortable for a wide range of body sizes. The back seat has a decent amount of space for a car this size, though there isn't enough room for a tall passenger to ride behind a similarly long-legged front-seat occupant. Both of the Rio's body styles provide similar amounts of passenger space.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth seats
  • six-way manually adjustable driver's seat

Available seating features:

  • premium cloth upholstery
  • leather-trimmed seats
  • 60/40 split-folding back seat
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Kia Rio?

The 2018 Rio has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat. Overall, it doesn't take much effort for caregivers to locate and use the hardware, though the lower anchors are too deep in the seat cushions. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Rio's LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use.

2018 Kia Rio Features

Every Rio comes with a touch-screen display and a USB port. The Rio's best infotainment system comes in the range-topping Rio EX, sporting a larger touch screen, Kia's straightforward UVO interface, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. That said, even the midlevel Rio S has an appealing set of infotainment features, with Bluetooth and Siri Eyes Free included in the mix.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 5-inch touch screen, satellite radio, a four-speaker sound system, and a USB port
  • Available infotainment features: Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free, six speakers, two additional USB ports, a 7-inch touch screen, voice recognition, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay
  • Other available features: power windows, cruise control, and keyless entry

See 2018 Kia Rio specs »

Read more about Rio interior »

2018 Kia Rio Dimensions

Kia Rio Cargo Space

Both of the Rio's body styles have more storage space than average. The Kia Rio sedan's 13.7-cubic-foot trunk is roomy enough for about nine grocery bags. The Kia Rio hatchback has 17.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, and models with the available 60/40 split-folding back seat have up to 32.8 cubic feet of cargo space.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Kia Rio Length and Weight
  • Length: 13 feet, 4 inches to 14 feet, 5 inches
  • Curb weight: 2,648 to 2,714 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Kia Rio Built?

Kia built the 2018 Rio in Mexico.

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