2021 Kia Rio

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2021 Kia Rio Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: November 19, 2020

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A. Vats

Automotive Journalist


The 2021 Kia Rio sedan is one of the most budget-friendly subcompact sedans available in the markets. The Rio from the Korean Kia has been really popular among the folks for practicality, utility, and comfort with an efficient engine under the hood. The 2021 Kia Rio sedan, a part of the fourth generation, comes with a plethora of upgrades in the exterior fascia and the interiors and also employs a brand-new mild-hybrid powertrain which thus improves the performance hitherto.

2021-kia-rio-review

Rio isn't popular for its looks from the exterior, but it's worth the money we pay. In the markets, the Kia Rio sedan has to compete with the ever-charming and fan-favored Honda Civic, the popular Toyota Yaris, and the Hyundai Accent. Here’s our take on the 2021 Kia Rio sedan that is soon going to be on sale in the market.

See detailed review »

Pros

Practical, Efficient and Fun to Drive around town

Well built quality

Cons

Small trunk storage

Feels a bit underpowered on freeways

What's New?

New Front & Rear Facia

Upgraded Infotainment System


Pictures & Videos

Videos
2021 Kia Rio Review video

Styles

2021 Kia Rio in Aurora Black color 2021 Kia Rio in Clear White color 2021 Kia Rio in Silky Silver color
Aurora Black

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

9.0

Engine And Performance

7.0

Fuel Economy

9.0

Interior

9.0

Exterior

8.0

Safety

9.0

Competition

7.3

Final Verdict

8.4

8.0

OVERALL RATING

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Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2021 Kia Rio LX

LX

power
120 hp @ 6300 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
32 combined

$15,850


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $15,850 MSRP (28/32/37) 120 hp @ 6300 rpm, 1.6 L, Inline 4, Regular unleaded
2-speed CVT front wheel drive 5

2021 Kia Rio S

S

power
120 hp @ 6300 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
32 combined

$16,490


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
S 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $16,490 MSRP (28/32/37) 120 hp @ 6300 rpm, 1.6 L, Inline 4, Regular unleaded
2-speed CVT front wheel drive 5

Expert Review

8.0

Overall Rating


Kia as a manufacturer is known for making some of the most reliable and practical cars on the planet and the 2021 Kia Rio sedan is no exception. The Rio is easy to maintain and practical to use as a daily driver. The cabin is well built and provides ample spaces for all its occupants. The Rio also is very economical to maintain and gets the best fuel efficiency in its segment. 

The 2021 Kia Rio is a direct rival to the likes of Honda Civic, Toyota Yaris and Hyundai Accent. Read our in-depth review and pricing analysis of the 2021 Kia Rio to get a clearer picture of how it is strategically placed in the U.S. market. 

2021 Kia Rio Sedan Front Third Quarter View
2021 Kia Rio Sedan Rear Third Quarter View

9.0/10
Features

7.0/10
Engine and Performance

9.0/10
Fuel Economy

9.0/10
Interior

8.0/10
Exterior

9.0/10
Safety

7.3/10
Competition

8.4/10
Final Verdict


2021 Kia Rio Features

9.0/10

The 2021 Kia Rio sedan will be offered in two trim levels: LX and S. The LX being the base variant, is expected to have a starting price of about $17,000 and comes with some very practical features like front and rear airbags, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The top of the line ‘S’ model will set you back about $18,000 and packs a bit more luxurious features like 60:40 split rear seats and a Forward Collision-Avoidance system (FCA).

The 2021 Kia Rio proves to be a great value for money as it is priced well under $20,000 and being a part of Hyundai, is a very reliable and well-made sedan. The 2021 Rio is practical to drive around the city and feels confident on the freeways. Along with a long list of standard features, the Rio is a comfortable compact sedan, which is very practically designed. 

Trims

LX

S

MSRP

$17,000 (est.)

$18,000 (est.)

Key Features

Front and Rear Airbags

Adds/Upgrades from previous trim

 

Anti-lock Braking System

Supervision Meter Cluster w/ 3.5-inch Display

 

Electronic Stability Control

Center Console w/ Sliding Armrest and Storage

 

Electronic-Brake Force Distribution

Rear-Seat Adjustable Headrests

 

7-inch Touch-Screen Display and AM/FM/MP3 Audio System

60/40 Split-Folding Rear Seat

 

Android Auto and Apple Carplay

Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA)

 

Rear-view Parking monitor

 

The ‘LX’ trim level of the Kia Rio is the base level trim and has a starting price of about $15,900. The ‘LX’ trim carries many practical features like Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Rear-View Parking Monitor, and many more, that accent the practicality of the Rio. 

The ‘S’ trim level is the top of the line variant and has cost about $1,000 more than the ‘LX’. The ‘S’ trim gets all the features of the ‘LX’ and has more add ons like rear-seat adjustable headrests and 60:40 split rear seats, which add up more practicality to the 2021 Kia Rio sedan. 

View 2021 Kia Rio Specs & Features >>

2021 Kia Rio Maintenance, Reliability and Warranty

Kia specializes in making a few of the most reliable vehicles all around the globe. The Rio Sedan has proven its reliability through the J.D.Power reports as well as the customer satisfaction reports. Being made with high-quality materials the body and its parts are easy to maintain. Kia Rio Sedan is less expensive to maintain. 

Reliable and Ownership Costs

Being manufactured by the Korean Kia Motors, Rio comes out to be highly reliable and cost-effective. The parts are made of high-quality materials that assure lesser damage or repair works on the course of their ownership. The J.D.Power has rated the car a rating of 4.5 out of 5 in terms of reliability, which is extremely notable and compelling. Most of the underpinnings are shared with its corporate cousin Hyundai, which doubles the assurance in built-quality. 2020 Rio has given a score of 87 out of 100 for quality and reliability by J.D.Power.

 

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Total

Tax Credit

$0 

$0 

$0 

$0 

$0 

$0 

Insurance

$1,303 

$1,349 

$1,396 

$1,445 

$1,495 

$6,988 

Maintenance

$538 

$712 

$654 

$1,136 

$1,649 

$4,689 

Repairs

$0 

$0 

$0 

$0 

$670 

$670 

Taxes & Fees

$1,577 

$152 

$142 

$132 

$120 

$2,123 

Financing

$934 

$752 

$556 

$348 

$126 

$2,716 

Depreciation

$4,033 

$1,607 

$1,521 

$1,784 

$1,690 

$10,635 

Fuel

$1,493 

$1,538 

$1,584 

$1,631 

$1,680 

$7,926 

Real Cost to Own

$9,878 

$6,110 

$5,853 

$6,476 

$7,430 

$35,747

The true ownership cost for the Kia Rio comes out to be around $35,747, over a span of 5 years and approximately 75,000 miles. The Rio follows the same Kia tradition for being easy to maintain, reliable, and cost-effective tool for a day to day usage. 

The 2021 Kia Rio is priced at $16,500 on average across the U.S. However, some dealers can offer you deep discounts. On an estimate, the Kia Rio Sedan would cost you around $35,747 spread over a period of 5 years, which is lower compared to the segment average.

Warranty

Kia gets one of the widest networks of roadside assistance. The network comprises around 17,000 trusted roadside assistance providers on call 24 hours a day anywhere in the US to provide assistance in case of dead batteries, flat tires or running out of gas, etc. all free of cost. This program comprises the following:

Criteria

Period

Limited Powertrain Warranty

10-year/100,000-miles

Limited Basic Warranty

5-year/60,000 miles

Limited anti-perforation warranty

5-year/100,000 miles

Roadside assistance plan

5-year/60,000 miles

The company also assures customer friendly service and even reasonable reimbursement of expenses happened if warranty related issues occur. Kia offers a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty program as a testament. 

Miles Per Dollar

The miles per dollar for a vehicle is an estimated figure, that is derived as per the miles driven at a given span of time and the cost of maintenance incurred during that period. The average maintenance cost for the Kia Rio comes out to be about $4,689. The miles per dollar for the Kia Rio therefore comes out to be about 15.99 miles per $1.

View 2021 Kia Rio Reliability >>

2021 Kia Rio Buying Advice

The 2021 Kia Rio Sedan is expected to start sales by the end of 2020. Rio is an extremely compelling buy in the segment as it gives you all modern tech features, better fuel economy, safety and driver-assistance technology, upscale interior and exterior fascia with ease of handling, all within an affordable price. 

Choosing from the two available trim levels purely depends on what you need and how much would you be able to spend. The base LX trim is indeed well equipped but the S trim gives you a lot more within a smaller price difference. Therefore we would recommend the ‘S’ trim for the Rio sedan. 

Is buying a used Kia Rio a good idea?

The Kia Rio is a highly reliable, efficient, and worthy choice in the segment. Being made of extremely good and high-quality materials, the underpinnings of the vehicle are undoubtedly long-lasting. So buying a used Kia Rio would never disappoint you. The high scores from the J.D. Power would prove the rest. All these years, Kia has been upgrading the Rio with everything it can get.

So buying a used Kia Rio is practically a great choice if you are short on budget. Go for the 2019 model as you can get one at 75 percent of its original price with 11 years of useful life left. Also, check out the Car Indigo used car inventory to check out some of the best deals on a used Kia Rio near you


Also Read:

2021 Kia Rio Engine and Performance

7.0/10

The 2021 Kia Rio Sedan gets a 1.6L Naturally Aspirated I-4 Engine under the hood that pumps around 120 horsepower and 112 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a continuously variable transmission with Electronic Precision Shifts. The smooth and efficient CVT along with standard front-wheel drivetrain gets you a good amount of road performance along with efficiency. 

2020 Kia Rio Sedan Engine

The 2021 Rio is one of the pioneers in this segment to feature a mild-hybrid powertrain. It is expected that the 2021 Rio would come up with a new Smartstream 1L turbocharged engine with a 48V MHEV system for back up. The system shall be expected to get you more power and better torque figures. 

Models

2021 Kia Rio Sedan

2021 Toyota Yaris

2021 Hyundai Accent

2021 Honda Civic

MSRP

$16,500

$16,750

$15,395

$20,550

Engine

1.6L I-4 Engine

1.5L Naturally Aspirated I-4

1.6L Naturally Aspirated I-4 

2.0L Naturally Aspirated I-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

CVT

6-speed Automatic

CVT

CVT

Power

120 hp @ 6300 rpm

106 hp @ 6000 rpm

120 hp @ 6300 rpm

158 hp @ 6500 rpm

Torque

112 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm

103 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

113 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm

138 lb-ft @ 4200 rpm

In comparison, the Honda Civic comes out to be the best in terms of power and torque figures followed by the Kia and the Hyundai. The Civic is offered at a greater price compared to the Kia which justifies the power figures of Rio. 

2021 Kia Rio Sedan Acceleration and Braking Performance

The acceleration figures of the 2021 Kia Rio is hugely affected by its torque figures. The current stats reveal that the 2021 Kia Rio can sprint 60 mph from a standstill in around 8.2 seconds. The top speed is estimated to be 117 mph. The 2021 Kia Rio outshines its competitors in straight-line acceleration.

2020 Kia Rio Sedan Accelerate 0-60 MPH Just In 8.2 Sec.

The 2021 Kia Rio also gets decently sized brakes that work really well to give you good confidence at higher speeds. The front wheels get around 11 inch ventilated disc brakes and 8-inch solid disc brakes at the rear. Along with the equipped ABS and EBD, the Kia Rio shows good braking and handling.

Models

2021 Kia Rio Sedan

2021 Toyota Yaris

2021 Hyundai Accent

2021 Honda Civic

0-60 MPH

8.2s

9.6s

8.5s

8.9s

Quarter mile

16.5s

17.4s

16.7s

17.0s

Top Speed

117 MPH

115 MPH

124 MPH

124 MPH

60-0 MPH

119 ft

123 ft

120 ft

NA

The acceleration figures are good for Rio when compared to the rivals, but the Accent and Civic get the highest top speed values. On the braking front, it offers impressive performance despite having smaller brake rotors and brings the vehicle to a standstill from 60MPH in just 119 ft.

2021 Kia Rio Ride & Handling

The 2021 Kia Rio rides comfortably on a well-tuned suspension setup, that absorbs the road abnormalities with ease. The compact design of the 2021 Rio makes it very easily maneuverable through the tight city streets and narrow parking lots. It feels comfortable through the traffic and stable on the freeways. 

The 2021 Kia Rio is very precise in terms of handling. It is surely not a high-strung performance machine, however, it still feels very planted and connected to the road. The steering of the 2021 Rio also feels direct. The road feedback from the wheels is a bit vague, but it still is not a letdown. 

View 2021 Kia Rio Performance >>

2021 Kia Rio Fuel Economy

9.0/10

The 2021 Kia Rio sedan with a 1.6L engine gets 33 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway which is the best in this segment. 2021 Kia Rio Sedan comes with a mild-hybrid engine that gets it to be the most efficient among the rivals. The intelligent and far-sighted CVT backed up with the 1L Turbocharged unit adds to the efficiency of on-road drives.

2021 Kia Rio Hatchback

The fuel tank accommodates around 11.9 gallons which provides a range of 392/487/425 miles on city/highway/combined. The Kia also implements the Stop and Go system, which intelligently switches the engine off on stop-light so that lesser fuel is consumed. 

Models

2021 Kia Rio

2021 Toyota Yaris

2021 Hyundai Accent

2021 Honda Civic

MPG (City)

33

32

33

30

MPG (Highway)

41

40

41

38

MPG (Combined)

36

35

36

34

Fuel Capacity 

11.9

11.6

11.9

12.4

Range (City/Hwy/Combined)

392/487/425

348/452/390

345/464/399

310/466/380

Kia Rio offers the best MPG figures in the segment. Yaris or Civic turns out to be less efficient compared to the Korean competitor. The Hyundai Accent gets you quite similar MPG figures as of the Kia Rio. The hybrid powertrain, unique in this segment, ensures lesser emissions to the environment as well. 

View 2021 Kia Rio Fuel Efficiency >>

2021 Kia Rio Interior

9.0/10

The interiors of the 2021 Kia Rio Sedan are spacious, comfortable, and packed with tech. Being an entry-level subcompact vehicle, Rio gets you almost everything a car can give. The quality and aesthetics of the interiors for its price point will surprise you. The front seats are power-adjustable, heated, and ventilated with ample space for the occupants. 

2021 Kia Rio Sedan Seating Layout

The steering wheel is also heated and comes with tilt and telescopic functionality. The rear seats are a bit cramped for the legs to be placed freely. The sedan is going to get a standard Sporty Blue interior color package for the 2021 model which would grab your eyes for sure. 

Models

2021 Kia Rio 

2021 Toyota Yaris

2021 Hyundai Accent

2021 Honda Civic

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

38.9/54.1/42.1

38.2/53.2/41.9

38.9/54.2/42.1

39.3/57/42.3

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

37.4/53.3/33.5

36.8/50/34.4

37.3/53.7/33.5

37.1/55/37.4

The Honda Civic comes out to be the best in terms of space for the occupants. Rio comes the second in terms of space in the front. Coming to the rear, the Hyundai Accent gets slightly more shoulder room than the Kia Rio. The Cargo Capacity also seems to be decent for the Kia Rio which is about 13.7 cubic feet, which stands second after the massive 15.1 cubic feet for the Honda Civic.

How’s the 2021 Kia Rio Sedan’s infotainment system?

Like every other car from the manufacturer, the Kia Rio also gets an intuitive and well-placed infotainment screen featuring a 7-inch touchscreen display and the most wanted features such as the Apple CarPlay, Android Auto with standard Radio, Bluetooth and USB connectivity.

2021 Kia Rio Sedan Dashboard

The Infotainment screen is ergonomically placed so that the position demands the least eye-travel from the road which makes things hassle-free for the driver. The screen is at an easy reach of the driver and the passenger which makes it more friendly. 

View 2021 Kia Rio Interiors >>

2021 Kia Rio basic Sedan dashboard
2021 Kia Rio basic Sedan infotainment screen
2021 Kia Rio basic Sedan cockpit area
2021 Kia Rio basic Sedan front seats
2021 Kia Rio basic Sedan instrument cluster
2021 Kia Rio basic Sedan shift knob
2021 Kia Rio basic Sedan seating layout

2021 Kia Rio Exterior

8.0/10

The 2021 Kia Rio is going to witness newer styling factors in the exterior silhouette. With simple and modern looks the Kia Rio Sedan looks sleek and stylish. The front design has been refreshed and the signature tiger-nose grille has been narrowed. The full LED headlights and eye-catching exterior shades give a good road presence. The new 8-spoke 16” alloy wheels are made available for the 2021 Kia Rio as standard.

2021 Kia Rio Sedan Third Quarter View

The Rio gets standard Halogen headlights whereas LED headlights are made available. Subtle changes are expected in the dimensions. Rio Sedan would be the heaviest in the segment. The looks are expected to be more aggressive than ever.

Models

2021 Kia Rio

2021 Toyota Yaris

2021 Hyundai Accent

2021 Honda Civic

Curb Weight 

2,767 lbs

2,432 lbs

2,623 lbs

2,771 lbs

Length

172.6”

171.2”

172.6”

182.7”

Width

67.9”

66.7”

68.1”

70.9”

Height

57.1”

58.5”

57.1”

55.7”

Ground Clearance

5.5”

5.5”

5.6”

5.2”

Wheelbase

101.6”

101.2”

101.6”

106.3”

The Honda Civic is a well-proportionate sedan being the longest, widest but the shortest in the competition. The Kia Rio and the Hyundai Accent get the second position with almost similar dimensions. The Civic gets the longest wheelbase followed by the Kia and the Hyundai. 

View 2021 Kia Rio Gallery >>

2021 Kia Rio basic Sedan wheel
2021 Kia Rio basic Sedan left side view
2021 Kia Rio basic Sedan rear view
2021 Kia Rio basic Sedan rear three quarter view
2021 Kia Rio basic Sedan headlamp
2021 Kia Rio basic Sedan three quarter view
2021 Kia Rio basic Sedan three quarter view

2021 Kia Rio Safety

9.0/10

The safety features offered by the 2021 Kia Rio are one of the class-leading ones with a lot of standard and available active and passive features. The previous models of Rio have won the Top Safety Pick title from the IIHS and this time with a lot more features, Kia would get the Top Safety Pick+ award. A lot more features are to be indulged in to the Rio Sedan which would surely win your heart.

The necessary features such as Forward Collision, Blind Spot Collision, Intelligent speed limit warning, Lane-change assist, Adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, and many more are made standard. The robust structure is reinforced with 30% more advanced high-strength steel for increased rigidity.

View 2021 Kia Rio Safety >> 

2021 Kia Rio Competition

7.3/10

2021 Kia Rio Sedan vs  Toyota Yaris

Kia Rio gets really better marks when compared to the Yaris from Toyota. The well-known sedan from Toyota finds it difficult to strive against Rio, in terms of interior quality, space, dimensions, performance, or efficiency. Moreover, Kia offers a more generous warranty for Rio which is still unmatched by the Yaris.

2021 Toyota Yaris

2021 Kia Rio Sedan vs Hyundai Accent

The Kia and Hyundai, being corporate cousins, share similar pieces of equipment. However, Accent lacks safety features in the base trim but Kia ensures that safety is ensured in both its trims. The rest of the factors are almost similar, but Kia does better with efficiency and tech inside. 

2021 Hyundai Accent

 

2021 Kia Rio Final Verdict

8.4/10

The 2021 Kia Rio Sedan is one of the most compelling choices if you are looking for an entry-level sub-compact vehicle. The sleek but stylish Rio comes with everything you would expect and more within the best price someone can offer. The safe, efficient, rideable, comfortable, and tech-filled Kia Rio would force us to title it as the best choice you shall have in this segment. The Korean Rio would never let you rethink.

Used Kia Rio for Sale

Car Name Deals Starting Price Number of Listings
2020 Kia Rio 8 Great Deals Out of 2747 $11,620 2747 Listings
2019 Kia Rio 85 Great Deals Out of 697 $8,791 697 Listings
2018 Kia Rio 34 Great Deals Out of 222 $7,861 222 Listings
2017 Kia Rio 30 Great Deals Out of 185 $5,995 185 Listings
2016 Kia Rio 47 Great Deals Out of 223 $4,995 223 Listings
2015 Kia Rio 20 Great Deals Out of 91 $3,900 91 Listings
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