January 19, 2018

Kia Rio SX Review


In 1999, I drove a purple KIA Sephia that was filled with cheap plastic and rainbow threaded seats. When I turned on the A/C and the radio at that same time the whole car seemed to slow down.  There was so little power in that car I laughed and put KIA out of my mind.  Over ten years later and many improvements, KIA has created a fan base and set of cars that just might surprise you.

The KIA Rio SX is a tiny bit of a car that has more room than you would initially think.  Small in size it packs a fun punch in gadgets and accessories and cargo space (13+ cubic feet).  From heated seats, push to start ignition, remote keyless entry, dual front advance airbags to a rear camera and sunroof, the SX also offers an ECO option to help conserve fuel in the GDI (Gas Direct Injection) version.

Optional heated leather seats make a nice addition.

Interior on the Kia Rio SX has room for three car seats. That’s right, you heard me, three.  I was able to fit two booster seats and one convertible car seat into the back of this car.  We loaded my family of five into it one Sunday afternoon when my SUV was being deodorized due to a gallon of milk getting lost in its third row. For three days.  The little Rio saved our noses that week.  My kids are forever grateful.    Aside from that the Rio SX offers ample back seat room for two adults.   My six foot husband fit in the back comfortably. Sirius Radio is enabled and the ability to smoothly run your iPod without any glitches.  The Microsoft powered navigation system (7 inch screen) on the dashboard is easy to use as are many of the controls and options like a USB port and steering-wheel mounted audio buttons. UVO, Kia’s voice-activated infotainment system is there and so is Bluetooth.

On the outside the SX is sportier than I imagined.  The standard 17″ Alloy wheels were my favorite part of the car.  The design is edgier with the chrome accented black grill and chrome back bumper.  It comes with the option for a tilted power sunroof, which I enjoyed and heated power side mirrors with turn signal indicators, which are standard in the SX. Also standard are automatic on/off headlights, front fog lights and LED Positioning lights and tail lights.

How does the KIA Rio SX drive?  Road and Track said, “While not fast, the Rio is not completely slow, either. It’s zippy for the most part. Zippy going up hills? Yes. Zippy with a full-sized male passenger? Yes. Zippy around curves? Sort of.” I beg to differ when it comes to the hills.  I live in a fairly hill-infested area and the KIA Rio didn’t love the hills or curves.  However, you don’t buy this car for speed.  You drive it for price, to get you around town and good gas mileage.  MPG on this model is stated at 30 city, 40 highway.  I averaged about 28 mpg as I ran errands in town during the week. The car has 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 138 horsepower and it makes it possible to pass vehicles on the highway and in the city.  That’s really all you need.  The brakes on this car are spectacular. They are quick to react but not hard enough to jerk you into place.  Acceleration and gear change could use some work.  Both are a bit slow.  Road noise, even on the highway, was less than I expected with this car as well.

Overall, I liked the KIA Rio SX. For what it is- a car that runs about $20, 545 (fully loaded) with standard MSRP pricing being between 13,400 – $17,700.  It will get you from point A to  point B and with some exterior style and a bit of comfort.  It can transport more than you think and seats four adults rather comfortably.  It’s great for getting around town and the city.  The 10-year, 10o,000 mile limited powertrain warranty are a nice touch. st

MPR Rating: 3.5 Stars

Disclaimer: MPR was not paid for this post. Products received are for review purposes only.  Car reviewed through collaboration with Drive STI. 



*Images from motorauthority.com and automotive.com