2018 Kia Rio EX: All Grown Up and Looking Good

Published: Friday, June 8, 2018 | 1:00 AM

2018kiario475The redesigned 2018 Kia Rio makes a statement in the subcompact segment. With its new look and upgraded interior, the Kia Rio seems like a larger, more expensive car. The interior still has hard plastics but the placement of the instruments and the redesign of the dash make it seem more expensive than it really is.

2018kiariodashAvailable as a sedan or hatchback, the 2018 Kia Rio comes in three trim levels: LX, S, and EX. This review will focus on the top of the line EX model.

The Rio EX is loaded with 15-inch alloy wheels, a chrome grille surround, foglights, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a forward collision warning system with automatic braking, upgraded cloth upholstery, dual illuminated vanity mirrors and an upgraded 7-inch center display with Kia’s Uvo infotainment system.

My model also included the optional Launch Edition package which added red interior trim and partial leather accents.

A 1.6-liter, four-banger powers the Rio, producing 130 horses and 119 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission which produces smooth gear changes. Expect to get 28/city, 37/highway, and 32/combined mpg.

Although the interior has a lot of hard plastic surfaces, they are finished well with textures that give the interior a more upscale look. The doors close solidly and the cabin is relatively quiet.

2018 Rio 5-DoorSeating up front is comfortable with lots of leg and headroom. The backseat is more confining due to the roof slope and the small amount of legroom.

Although nav is not available on the Rio, what is very useful is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Passengers will be able to play their tunes over the car’s great audio system. Voice recognition is easy to use and understood most of my commands.

There’s plenty of storage space in the Rio for cargo large and small. Cubbies are available for smaller stuff front and back. The hatch’s 32.8 cubic feet of cargo space (with the back seats down) will fit most cargo.

The Rio zips through traffic around town, but struggles to give a quick speed burst when needed on the highway. Its steering is responsive and winding roads are not a stretch. The cabin is quiet unless quick speed is needed and then the engine can be a bit noisy.

Looking for a start-up car or to down-size? Check out the all new for 2018 Kia Rio EX.