5 vehicles within 100 miles of
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    Phone: 410-670-7190
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  • DARCARS Kia of Frederick of Frederick, MD (25 mi)
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  • Fitzgerald Auto Mall Wheaton of Wheaton, MD (23 mi)
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  • Easterns Automotive Group of Baltimore of Rosedale, MD (55 mi)
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  • William Kinton
    Automotive Editor - January 26, 2018

    2018 Kia Rio OVERVIEW

    When the Kia Rio first hit the US market at the turn of the century, it was the least expensive new car available, and it felt like it. The early Rios had a reputation for poor build quality, were sparsely equipped, and were the definition of basic transportation. Fast-forward to 2018, and Kia might as well be an entirely different company. The all-new 2018 Rio sedan and five-door hatchback are still quite inexpensive, but they both punch far above their price in terms of driving dynamics, design, and quality, setting an entirely new benchmark for cheap cars in the US.

    What's New for 2018

    The Kia Rio is a completely new model for 2018.

    Choosing Your Kia Rio

    The 2018 Kia Rio can be had as either a four-door sedan or a five-door hatchback for a $300 premium. Both options have three trim levels: LX, S or EX. Regardless of configuration, the Rio is powered by an enhanced version of the 1.6-liter four cylinder from the last generation, giving the car a slightly improved fuel economy at 29 city, 37 highway, and 32 combined for cars equipped with the manual transmission (the automatic has a one mpg penalty in the city). Unfortunately, the push for fuel economy has slightly decreased engine power to 130 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque from the previous generation. That being said, the Rio’s output is still plenty for a car that weighs less than 3,000 pounds.

    Both the sedan and the hatchback have a new interior that feels surprisingly upscale, even if standard features are sparse at lower trims. Kia has also made the Rio ride and handle better with a new suspension set up and a stiffer chassis, which helps greatly on longer trips.


    The LX trim starts at a $14,795 for the sedan including an $895 destination fee. For this price, it is equipped with a manual transmission, air conditioning, a five-inch touchscreen infotainment system with satellite radio, a four-speaker audio system, power door locks, and a choice of three paint colors. At this trim level, the Rio hatchback comes with a folding rear seat, but the sedan does not. The only option besides dealer-installed accessories is the automatic transmission, which costs $1,090. Notably, the Rio LX is one of the few cars left on the market to feature manual windows.


    The S trim starts at $16,995 for the sedan, and adds quite a few standard features like Bluetooth hands-free capability, a standard automatic transmission, cruise control, keyless entry, a rear-view camera, and a six-speaker audio system. No packages or options are available at the S trim level, but the paint choices have been expanded to six colors.


    The top-level EX trim starts at $19,295 for the sedan, but it brings a lot more to the table. The EX comes with alloy wheels, a larger seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automatic emergency braking, and forward collision warning, features usually not found on such a small vehicle. It also has access to the $500 EX Launch Edition package that offers red trim and partial leather seats, although for niceties like push-button start and heated front seats, you'll need to look elsewhere.

    CarsDirect Tip

    If you require a manual transmission, the best value seems to be in the Rio S. It’s only $1,110 more than an automatic-equipped LX, and you get much more in the way of creature comforts at a low price. The EX is a good value if you prioritize having autonomous emergency braking and forward collision warning, or want the capability of Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, but the price puts it in range of other small cars that can offer an all-around better experience, most notably the larger Honda Civic.

    Get your price on a Kia Rio »

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