2021 Kia Rio

Research, photos, specs, and expertise
6 photos

Kia Rio highlights

Customer rating


  • Good fuel economy
  • Standard wireless smartphone connectivity
  • Strong warranty


  • Meager acceleration
  • Ho-hum trunk space (sedan)
  • Base trim lacks active driver-assist features

Mileage (EPA estimate)

33 city, 41 highway, 36 combined

Pricing for current inventory

(no current inventory)

6 photos

The Kia Rio is bargain transportation with a tech twist

The 2021 Kia Rio is one of the least expensive avenues to new car ownership. Despite its bargain price, the Rio boasts a smooth ride, an attractive cabin with adult-friendly space, and some surprising tech touches. This includes an eight-inch Uvo infotainment screen that’s standard on all 2021 models, with wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™. That wire-free smartphone feature is often optional on a number of vehicles costing thousands more than the Rio sedan and hatchback.

Every Rio comes with a 120-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable transmission. Fuel mileage is strong, with an EPA-estimated 41 mpg highway average. Acceleration is leisurely, however. To be fair, tire-smoking speed isn’t something car shoppers are looking for at this price point. Fuel economy figures are based on EPA estimates for when vehicle sold as new. Fuel economy may vary for reasons like driving conditions and vehicle history. Unless specified, figures are for vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission. See

The hatchback has a slightly roomier cargo hold than the sedan, in case load-lugging ranks high on your list of priorities.

All Kia Rio years

2021 Kia Rio trims

Curious how Kia Rio trims differ? Use our side-by-side vehicle comparison to see the differences and similarities


  • 120-hp, 112-lb-ft of torque 1.6L
  • Rear Defroster
  • Cloth Seats
  • Power Mirrors
  • Traction Control
  • Side Airbags
  • Overhead Airbags
  • Rear View Camera
  • Automatic Transmission


Kia Rio photos

5 reasons to buy the 2021 Kia Rio

What We Like

Good value: The Kia Rio faces less competition as automakers turn attention away from subcompact sedans and hatches to pint-size SUVs. With this in mind, the value-conscious Rio undercuts many of these pricier sport-ute rivals by thousands of dollars.

Upgraded technology: That wireless smartphone connectivity and a user-friendly touchscreen are standard on the 2021 Rio is excellent news. Shoppers often have to look much higher on the price ladder to find wireless smartphone connectivity even offered as an option, so in our eyes Kia has scored a real coup by making it standard.

Cabin refinement: Just as appreciated is the grown-up look and feel of the cabin. It's basic but attractive, and all the controls are easy to operate. Even though the Rio is a budget-conscious choice, it stays on the right side of being inexpensive without feeling cheap.

What Needs Improvement

Plan passing maneuvers: There is only so much you can ask of the Rio’s 120-horsepower four-cylinder engine. In town it’s peppy enough. At highway speed, well, you’ll need to steer clear of the passing lane.

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Ratings & reliability

Customer ratings


RepairPal gave the Kia Rio an overall reliability rating of 4 out of 5 stars, which RepairPal describes as Excellent. This rating ranks Kia Rio 10th out of 27 among Subcompact Cars.

View RepairPal's full rating of the Kia Rio

Kia Rio features and specs

S 2WD 4D Sedan

Standard Features

  • ABS Brakes
  • Air Conditioning
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • Android Auto
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • Cloth Seats
  • Cruise Control
  • Overhead Airbags
  • Power Locks
  • Power Mirrors
  • Power Windows
  • Rear Defroster
  • Rear View Camera
  • Side Airbags
  • Traction Control
  • Alloy Wheels
  • Cloth Seats

Drive Wheels

Front Wheel Drive (2WD)

Engine size




Torque (ft-lbs)


Engine type


Fuel capacity




Overall length






Leg room

F 42.1"/R 33.5"

Head room

F 38.9"/R 37.4"

Front tires


Rear tires


Seating capacity




2021 Kia Rio FAQ

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