2017 Kia Rio Review

Fuel Type
City MPG
Highway MPG
  • Performance
    3.9 of 5.0
  • Cost of Ownership
    4.6 of 5.0
  • Interior
    4.3 of 5.0
  • Reliability
    4.0 of 5.0
24 Nov 2016

The Kia Rio is a subcompact car that has been in production since 2000. It was introduced to the market as a low-cost small hatchback for all Kia markets. The Rio was in its third generation in 2016, so the model versions have a long lifespan. The 2017 Kia Rio, on the other hand, received a thorough redesign and is likely to be ready for the next couple of years.

The Rio’s familiar appearance is retained, but Kia has spiced it up with the latest automotive design trends and a personal touch. The interior is equally modern, with a variety of color and material options, as well as the unmistakable technological gizmos. All of this was revealed at the vehicle’s unveiling at the Paris Motor Show on September 29.

The real question is whether Kia’s new Rio can entice buyers away from the high-performance, special-edition Ford Fiesta and the upcoming distinct VW Polo. How does it compare to the segment leaders in the hatchback segment? Is it sporty enough, and does the engine choice provide the power that the public desires? In this review, we’ll find out.

Exterior design

Kia’s best-selling vehicle received a well-deserved facelift. The previous model was a little blocky and sluggish, but the 2017 Kia Rio received all of the best features from Kia’s larger models. It now appears sharper, cooler, and slightly more aggressive.

Beginning at the front of the vehicle, the hood is longer and less steep. As a result, the Prius-like appearance of the front vanished, making way for a more mature-looking hatchback. The headlights are another significant advancement in the front exterior. These have been replaced by a set of sleek, pointy, slightly smaller ones. There’s also the grille, which has the same overall shape and is a definite Kia feature, but has been made to fit better into the headlight unity. Kia dubbed this grille the tiger-nose grille because it is, admittedly, reminiscent of a tiger’s nose. Then there’s the lower grille, which is larger and more sporty.

The outlines are the most noticeable difference on the side of the car. There will be no curved lines or bending at the end. Kia, on the other hand, chose to straighten all of her body lines. The side mirrors were replaced with tighter-looking ones, but the side widow layout remained unchanged. Best of all, the wheels have been upgraded in size and now look much more appropriate for the sporty 2017 Rio.

Finally, there are some fantastic changes around the back. The Rio is longer and wider, which results in a larger back door. Because of the more vertical rear window, the entire rear has that SUV/crossover look, ending high and mighty. The taillights have been replaced with a set of less noticeable ones that blend in perfectly with the exterior’s straight-lined design.

Interior design

The much-needed modernization of Rio’s interior has finally arrived and proven to be everything it should be. The previous model’s cheap, plastic appearance has been replaced by a wonderfully contemporary atmosphere.

The previous Kia Rio’s awkward vertical air vents have been replaced by horizontal vents with a quirky, not quite rectangular shape. Of course, the dashboard, like many newly designed vehicles, is angled towards the driver. The touch screen has been upgraded to a high-resolution TFT-screen that sits atop the center stack and protrudes slightly. It’s a huge improvement over what it used to be.

The steering wheel adds a lot of sass to the car, with a more upscale appearance and better grip. The aluminum pedals add a nice touch to the otherwise clean and comfortable interior. The 2017 Kia Rio is available in black or grey cloth upholstery or black or grey faux leather. The Red pack includes black and red faux leather seats as an additional color option.

Engine specs

The 2017 Kia Rio is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. The LX sedan comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission; an automatic transmission is available as an option. The automatic transmission is standard on all other Rio models.

Tech specs

Kia really upped the ante in the tech department with their new 2017 Kia Rio. The Rio will be the first car in its price range to offer standard Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian recognition, which is one of its best features so far. This standard feature assists Kia in putting the Rio on people’s radars and may persuade some VW Polo and Ford Fiesta owners to switch to the Rio.

Apple Car Play and Android Auto connectivity are optional features of the vehicle.

Price and sale date

The 2017 Kia Rio LX sedan is priced at $14,165, while the EX sedan is priced at $17,755.

The 2017 Rio LX hatchback is priced at $15,495, the EX hatchback is priced at $17,905, and the SX hatchback is priced at $20,905.