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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Kia Rio

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Expert's Rating


MPG 28 City / 36 Highway
  • Stylish looks
  • High-quality interior materials
  • Relatively quick
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Not as fun to drive as some competitors
  • And less usable interior space
, Automotive Editor -
The Kia Rio is one of the most attractive small sedan or hatchback on the market, and it's not just because of the stylish exterior. It's well-built, well-equipped and well-priced, making it something that should interest anyone looking in this segment that's already packed with strong competitors. But the Rio is a solid package that has the added benefit of striking looks and a long warranty. It's proof you can have style and sensibility for a low price.


The Rio comes as either a four-door sedan or five-door hatchback. All get a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 138 horsepower. The base LX comes equipped with a six-speed manual air conditioning, 15-inch wheels, trip computer, tilt steering wheel, split-folding rear seat, Bluetooth and four-speaker audio system with AUX and USB inputs. A six-speed automatic is optional, but standard on the EX, which also gets power windows and locks with remote keyless entry, front armrest, cruise control and a six-speaker audio system. The top-rung SX adds attractive 17-inch alloy wheels mated to a lowered and stiffened sports suspension and paddle shifters for the standard six-speed automatic, though a six-speed manual is an option. Leather-wrapped steering wheel, a backup camera and Kia's UVO voice recognition system is also standard.

The Chevrolet Sonic is available with a powerful and efficient turbocharged engine and is well made, but can be expensive and lacks the Kia's long warranty. The Ford Fiesta is more agile and fun to drive but can also be pricey and has a cramped rear seat. The Honda Fit has superior interior flexibility and is fun to drive, but isn't as efficient and doesn't have advanced in-car technology. The Toyota Yaris is less expensive and known for reliability, but has a cheap interior and isn't as efficient thanks to an outdated four-speed automatic.

See our picks for best sedans in the CarsDirect 2013 Sedan Buying Guide.

Despite plenty of choice in the category, the Rio stands out because it has all of the bases covered. It's comfortable and practical, with an efficient engine and lots of available features like leather seats and voice recognition, while coming standard with a five-year warranty and eye-catching looks. It will please people of all backgrounds and who need a car for commuting or just driving around town. For anyone looking at a small sedan or hatchback, the Rio should be near the top of your list.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Kia Rio
Starting price

2013 Kia Rio EX

Recommended for: For buyers who want the most efficient Rio

The EX is more generously equipped while still providing good value and the option to get the most fuel-efficient Rio. Standard features include a six-speaker audio system with SiriusXM satellite radio and CD player, six-speed automatic transmission, power windows and door locks with remote keyless entry, telescopic adjustment for the steering wheel, upgraded cloth upholstery and a front center armrest. The Eco Package includes fuel-saving changes like a stop-start system. The Convenience Package adds alloy wheels, Kia's UVO voice recognition system for audio and phone functions, a backup camera, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, power folding mirrors, fog lights and a soft-touch dash.

2013 Kia Rio
Starting price

2013 Kia Rio LX

Recommended for: For buyers who want a well-equipped small car

Even the most basic Rio comes packed with standard features. It gets, like all Rios, a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 138 horsepower. The standard transmission is a six-speed manual, though a six-speed automatic is optional. Also standard are 15-inch wheels with covers, power heated mirrors, four-speaker audio system with AUX and USB inputs, Bluetooth, steering wheel audio and phone controls, trip computer, tilt steering wheel, height-adjustable driver's seat and a split-folding rear seat. The Power Package adds power windows and power locks with remote keyless entry.

2013 Kia Rio
Starting price

2013 Kia Rio SX

Recommended for: Shoppers interested in big-car features in a more compact package

The upscale SX trim combines features more common on larger cars, while also being the sportiest Rio. Standard on the SX are 17-inch alloy wheels with a lowered sports suspension, power folding mirrors with turn signal indicators, fog lights, LED running lights, the UVO system, backup camera, paddle shifters, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and a soft-touch dash. The Premium Package adds navigation system with Sirius traffic, keyless entry and start, leather seats, heated front seats and a power moonroof. A six-speed manual is also available.

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