A mild facelift distinguishes Kia’s 2021 Rio, with new bumpers and grille intakes. As before, the Rio is available as either a subcompact sedan or hatchback. The touchscreen increases to eight inches, while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard across the range. There’s also a new Technology package available on S models, combining LED lighting and climate with lane keep assist and pedestrian detection.
Choosing Your Kia Rio
There’s less than $700 between the two trims offered in this subcompact. The basic Rio LX sedan costs $17,045 including destination, with S trim retailing at $17,685 and offering a few specification improvements. The 5-door Rio hatchback is available exclusively in S guise, costing $17,985.
There’s only one engine in the Rio – a modest 1.6-liter gas engine, generating 120 horsepower and 112 pound-feet of torque. This is supplied to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission, returning an EPA-estimated 33 miles per gallon city, 41 mpg highway, and 36 combined.
Passenger and Cargo Capacity
Cargo capacity for the five-seater Rio sedan stands at 13.7 cu ft with the rear seats in place, while the 5-door hatchback offers 17.4 cu ft of cargo capacity.
If safety is a priority, you need to choose S trim and add the optional Technology Pack. This is the only way to equip your Rio with features like lane keep and follow assistance, forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, LED headlights, and high beam assist. As standard, every model receives auto headlights, six airbags, stability management, and hill start assistance, plus brake force distribution.
The 2021 refresh has finally brought the Rio into the present day, with every model receiving an eight-inch touchscreen display with Bluetooth and wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay. The AM/FM radio has six speakers, while sockets include USB and 12V outlets. S models additionally receive USB charging ports and remote keyless entry with trunk opening.
You wouldn’t expect high-end specifications from a $17,000 subcompact, but the Rio does deliver some basics including power doors and windows, plus power heated mirrors. The cabin has air conditioning and a trip computer, while the driver benefits from Siri Eyes Free, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and automatic lights.
There are no packages available on LX models.
An extra $640 adds welcome features including steering-wheel-mounted cruise control plus remote keyless entry with a trunk opener and alarm. There are USB charging ports in the cabin, adjustable rear headrests, and a split-folding rear seat.
The Technology Package represents good value at $1,800, adding over 15 features including alloy wheels, air conditioning, satellite radio, and chrome exterior handles. However, the real improvements come in terms of safety. LED headlights with high beam assist complement lane keep and follow assist, plus a driver attention warning and rear occupant alert.
Although subcompacts are all about value, we’d strongly recommend choosing S trim and adding the Technology Package. It pushes the cost towards $20,000, but the combined benefits of the higher trim and 16 add-ons transform the Rio into a far more appealing day-to-day vehicle.