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Kia Rio Review

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The 2019 Kia Rio is a subcompact sedan with a combined 32 MPG and a great warranty. It made our list as one of the best commuter cars for the money. And although the base trim is a bare-bones model, the next trim up for less than a $1,000 price increase offers several niceties that could make your commute feel like it’s going by faster.

2019 Kia Rio pricing and trims

The 2019 Kia Rio only has two trims. Here’s Kia’s manufacturer recommended price (MSRP) and what’s included in each at no extra cost. The top trim builds upon the base trim; the S has or improves upon all the features of the LX, plus new ones.

Trim LX S
MSRP $15,390 $16,190
Standard Features 5″ Screen, Bluetooth, Heated Mirrors, Auto Light Control 7″ Touch Screen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto Connectivity

 
Automatic drive. The Rio has something several of our base commuter cars and cheapest cars under $20,000 don’t: power windows and a standard automatic transmission. The bad news? If you want a car with a manual transmission, it’s not an option, even on the S trim.

Warranty. All Kias come with a five-year, 60,000 mile “bumper-to-bumper” warranty and a 10-year, 100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty, one of the longest in the industry.

You might be able to find a 2019 Kia Rio for less than the MSRP. Sometimes dealerships have sales and sometimes the manufacturer gives rebates. Shop around and use industry guides like Kelley Blue Book or NADAguides to see what the fair market price is in your area. 

What’s next? Once you pick out the car you want, a car loan is next. It doesn’t hurt your credit to apply to multiple lenders any more than it does to apply to one if you do all your applications within the 14-day rate shopping period. If you need a car loan, potential lenders could include Kia Financing, or your bank, credit union or online lender. You could also fill out an online form at LendingTree to receive up to five potential auto loan offers from lenders at once, depending on your creditworthiness.

2019 Kia Rio safety

The 2019 Kia Rio earned a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; the only “poor” mark it earned in the test was for the quality on its halogen headlights. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not crash tested it.

Both trims of the Rio have passive safety systems that include airbags, seat belts, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, vehicle stability management, electronic brake-force distribution, hill start assist control and more.

Neither trim of the 2019 Kia Rio comes with active safety features included. However, you could add the following two features for an additional $800 on the top S trim.

  • Forward Collision Warning. The vehicle can warn the driver audibly and visually of an impending frontal collision.
  • Forward Collision Avoidance Assist. The vehicle can apply the brakes to prevent or lessen the impact of a frontal collision.

 

2019 Kia Rio competitor comparison

As a subcompact sedan, the Kia Rio faces some strong competition. The 2019 Toyota Yaris has a larger screen and includes automatic emergency braking on the lowest trim. Yet the only competitor vehicle that matches Kia’s great warranty has a much worse rating from experts.

Vehicle Models Kia Rio Honda Fit Nissan Versa Toyota Yaris Mitsubishi Mirage
Base MSRP $15,390 $16,190 $12,460 $15,600 $13,795
Expert Scores 4.1 4.4 3.7 3.6 2.9
Standard Features 5″ Screen, Bluetooth, Heated Mirrors, Auto Light Control, Long Warranty 5″ Screen, Bluetooth, Keyless Entry, Magic Seat (R) 7″ Screen, Bluetooth, Power Mirrors, Exterior Black Trim 7″ Screen, Bluetooth, Low-Speed Automatic Emergency Braking 7″ Screen, Bluetooth, Cruise Control, Rear Spoiler, Long Warranty
Body Types Available Sedan Hatchback Sedan, Hatchback Sedan, 2020 Yaris will have a hatchback option Sedan, Hatchback
Fuel Economy Combined/City/Hwy 32/29/37 MPG 31/29/36 MPG 30/27/36 MPG 34/30/39 MPG 36/33/41 MPG
Transmission Automatic Manual Manual Manual Manual

*Chart data is for base 2019 models. Expert score averages Kelley Blue Book (KBB) and Edmunds expert ratings as available. Standard technology refers to features included in the lowest trim level for each model at no extra cost (not an exhaustive list). Fuel economy is as defined by the EPA for the least-expensive base model trims with manual transmissions.

The bottom line on the 2019 Kia Rio 

If you’re looking for a good, basic vehicle with a long warranty and good expert scores, the 2019 Kia Rio might do it for you. If you’d like the option of more safety features and are loyal to the Kia brand, you could look at the Rio’s big brother, the Kia Forte, one of Kia’s most popular-selling vehicles.

 

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