Reviews

2017 Kia Rio Walk Around


The Rio five-door hatch is shapely, and the Rio sedan looks better-proportioned than many short subcompact four-door models, including the Ford Fiesta. A European tone is evident, blending with the car’s crisp body lines. It looks rakish for a Kia, helped by angled creases within the bodysides. Designers managed to convey something close to a hot hatch look, by way of the swept-back headlights, contrasting grille, and rounded tail.

Interior

To no one’s surprise, the Rio cabin feels cramped, yet it’s better than might be expected. Headroom in the back seat is definitely tight, which is inevitable because of the car’s stylish but abruptly swooping roofline. Despite its econocar status, overall cabin flair, augmented by soft-touch surfaces in some areas, suggests a more expensive premium model.

The hatchback stands out for versatility, while functionality of the sedan is a strong point. Seats contain proper bolstering, with front cushions that are comparatively long for a subcompact. Seats in the sportier Rio SX are bolstered even more, but the difference is minimal.

Traditional-type toggle switches operate the climate-control system. Unlike the cabins of some smaller cars, the Rio doesn’t come across as jarring or excessive.

For brief trips, at least, a Rio can hold five adults. It’s best with two, of course. Sound-deadening foam, added for the 2016 model year, helps keep noises at bay. Two-tone interior-trim treatments look quite nice.

Rear pillars of the five-door hatchback have substantial blind spots, making a rearview camera especially desirable. Total interior space is 7 cubic feet smaller than you’d get in a Honda Fit, and trails Nissan Versa by 3 cubic feet.

Cargo space in the Rio hatchback comes to 15 cubic feet, whereas the sedan’s trunk holds 13.7 cubic feet.

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