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Kia Rio Good Car

When the Kio Rio was first introduced to North America it was a frightful contraption that incited nightmares among those who had the means to avoid purchasing it. Fortunately, the Korean automaker realized it had to make immediate improvements or be out of the market in less than three years. After years of improvement and proven reliability, the 2013 Kia Rio is a nice car with a great entry level price tag.


The subcompact segment is not known for its overpowering muscle, but the Kia Rio offers a respectable1.6L four-cylinder engine that delivers 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque in all three trim levels. The entry level LX has a standard six-speed manual transmission and an available six-speed automatic. The EX and SX trim levels offer the automatic as standard equipment. The average 0-60 time for the SX sedan 1s 9.4 seconds, which is a full second faster than any other vehicle in the subcompact segment.

Fuel Efficiency

EPA fuel economy estimates for the Kia Rio, when equipped with an automatic transmission, are 28 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. When paired with a manual transmission, EPA estimates jump slightly to 29 mpg city/37 mpg highway. The EX trim level has an available Eco package that features stop/start technology. It can only be paired with the automatic transmission and offers 30 mpg city/36 mpg highway.


In brake tests, the SX sedan mentioned above makes a complete stop from 60 within 124 feet. The SX hatchback, a slightly lighter vehicle, makes the stop within 119 feet. Both distances are above average for the subcompact segment. When tested by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2013 Kia Rio was given four out of five stars for overall crash protection. It received five out of five stars for side impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety only tested the 2013 Kia Rio for moderate overlap frontal crash safety, where it received a top rating of ”Good”.

Customer Satisfaction

Customer reviews are overwhelmingly positive for the Kia Rio, but even the happy buyers point to some items that potential buyers need to be aware of. First is the engine noise. Noise is a common issue in the subcompact segment. They are less expensive for a reason and one of them is the lack of insulation between the engine compartment and the passenger area. Many customers and professional reviewers believe that the noise from the Kia Rio is a bit louder than with other subcompacts, though. Another way that manufacturers are saving money with quite a few new cars is by not providing a spare tire. You need to know this before you buy for sure! At 138 horsepower, the Rio is not going to set any land speed records, but the engine responds quickly upon acceleration and will get you into and out of traffic situations with ease. Overall, the Kia Rio is a good car that delivers on its EPA fuel economy estimates while providing a low cost new car option.

For similar compacts, check out our views of the Toyota Yaris and Ford Fiesta.

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About the author: Jerry Coffey


Jerry Coffey is the financial expert here at A recovered "debtaholic," he now preaches frugal-living and sound money management here and at, where he is the chief contributor. He works for a major automaker.


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