Flash Drive

2018 Kia Rio

Model Tested: 2018 Kia Rio EX 5DR

The handsomely restyled 2018 Kia Rio is available in sedan and hatchback iterations.

Engine: 1.6-liter I-4, 130 horsepower, 119 lb-ft torque

Transmission: 6-speed automatic, front-wheel-drive

EPA Rating: 28-mpg city/37-mpg highway/32-mpg combined

Base Price: $18,700

As Tested: $19,725


Peppy engine

Great fuel economy for a non-hybrid

Our best was 39.3-mpg highway

Pleasant ride for a small, short wheelbase car

The 2018 Kia Rio EX is pretty lively and fun to drive, especially when the Sport mode is engaged.

Sport mode button makes notable acceleration improvement

Available 6-speed manual transmission

Nimble city commuter/errand runner


Super stretch-out front legroom

Big adults fit in backseat if fronts are up a ways

Otherwise, front seatback hit knees

Good shoe room under front seats

Low floor hump

Excellent headroom

Pretty minimalist rear seat—no door bins, just bottle notches

The 2018 Rio front seat has excellent, stretch-out leg room and a nicely ergonomic steering wheel.

One seatback storage pouch

Excellent, thick, leather wrapped, contoured steering wheel

Very good auxiliary controls on steering wheel

Tilt/telescope steering column

Soft headrests

Comfy seats

Driver seat height pump

No rear seat center armrest


High-opening hatchback, but tall lift-over (10-inches)

Split, folding rear seats have some slope

Rear seat room is good as long as the front seats are up a ways. Rear seat features are minimal.

Wide cargo area

Single dim light in cargo area

Medium size front door bins with bottle notches

Modest size glovebox; no lock

Small, but deep center console bin

Large infotainment screen

Medium size, plastic sunvisors

One seatback storage pouch

Sunglasses holder

WOW Factors:

Handsome styling, sharp alloy wheels

Solid door shut

Outstanding warranty

Hybrid-like fuel economy


Thin, cheap carpet on cargo deck

The 2018 Kia Rio sedan is more traditional looking, but we prefer the added utility of the 5-door hatchback.

Inexpensive, flocked headliner

Dim cargo lamp

Bare bones rear seat

Bottom Line:

The 2018 Kia Rio EX 5-door hatchback is a small car that’s big on value and interior space. It’s available in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback body styles. The styling and standard content exceed expectations of cars priced this low. The Kia Rio is a perfect city car or first car plus it has Kia’s excellent warranty.