Kia Rio Hatchback

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KIA Rio Hatchback
1.25 1 5dr
KIA Rio Hatchback
1.25 2 5dr
KIA Rio Hatchback
1.0 T GDi 2 5dr
KIA Rio Hatchback
1.0 T GDi 3 5dr
KIA Rio Hatchback
1.0 T GDi 118 GT-Line 5dr
KIA Rio Hatchback
1.0 T GDi 118 GT-Line 5dr DCT
KIA Rio Hatchback
1.0 T GDi 118 GT-Line S 5dr

Review Of The Kia Rio Hatchback

The new Kia Rio Hatchback won’t ever be the flavour of the month in the super-mini sector. But with its amazing 7-year warranty, it’s budget friendly running costs and huge boot, it offers plenty of value for money.

It’s more competent than exciting, and more tastefully designed than stylish. Bridging the gap between a cute city car and a fully-fledged family hatchback, it’s ideal for anyone who still wants a small car – but who’d like it to be a bit more useful. In a short, it’s a likeable if not standout super mini.

OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2017 Kia Rio Hatchback review.

On The Road

It’s competent, but don’t expect it to be fun or engaging. The engine range has been revised, which means there is more power now. It can keep up better on the motorway at last! However, it seems like Kia haven’t made much of an attempt to improve its rather lacklustre drivability.

The new, turbocharged 1.0-litre three-pot petrol engine suits the Rio well. With 99bhp behind it, it can do 0-62 in 10.3 seconds. There is also the option of an 118bhp variant, which covers the same sprint in under 10.0 seconds.

a white kia rio hatchback from behind driving down a tarmac road

These are the fastest engines the Rio can offer. They have a decent sound to them, and they’ve got a punch. However, rivals can offer quieter and more flexible engines.

And although we doubt that you’ll be taking the Kia Rio Hatchback out on winding country lanes all the time, it’s still a shame that it can’t offer much in the way of entertainment. Its steering is dull and it lacks agility.

The diesel engines make more sense for commuters who have a long way to travel. They’re cheaper to run. However, they’re even less fun than the petrol engines and not exactly sprightly. The entry-level 1.4-litre 76bhp diesel takes 13.5 seconds to complete the 0-62 “dash”, which is super sluggish. Even when you put your foot down, you won’t feel like you’re getting anywhere.

The 89hp variant is the better choice. It’s fairly refined, and can do 0-62 in 11.7 seconds. That’s not bad. It also comes mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, which we like. It allows you to keep the engine the sweet spot of the rev range.

However, our biggest issue with the diesel engines is their weight. That added heaviness makes it harder to take bends with pace.

Interior, Design & Build

Kia Rio Hatchback back seat interior

The new Rio’s predecessor was showing lots of signs of ageing inside, and Kia have definitely livened things up. However, scratchy plastics continue to let it down.

Still, there has been a lot of improvement. A 7” touchscreen infotainment system brings the Rio into 2017, while the air conditioning is controlled by buttons. The design is better too, with the dashboard benefiting from fewer controls. It looks cleaner and easier on the eyes.

Overall, the cabin is smart and spruce.

That said, it can’t match its rivals when it comes to quality. You’ll spot harder plastics on the dash and on the doors, and they are an unwanted distraction.

Comfort is assured for the driver, thanks to a good driving position. In the back, comfort is more restricted. Rear-seated passengers don’t get much legroom, although headroom is good. It’s all a bit of a squeeze, but thankfully Kia have ditched the three-door model. The five-door model makes entry into the rear seats so much easier.

The boot is one of this car’s major strengths. It measures 325-litres, which is bigger than most rivals.

Kia Rio Hatchback Review: Equipment & Safety

Standard kit is decent. The entry level model gets front electric windows, air conditioning, LED daytime running lights and Bluetooth.

The 2 trim will be the most popular, and it’s our top pick. It gets a leather-trimmed steering wheel, 15” alloys, a DAB radio and all-round electric windows. It also comes with a 5” colour display, a reversing camera and folding wing mirrors.

The 3 trim tops the range with 16” alloys, a 7” touchscreen infotainment system, and automatic air conditioning. It gets a heated steering wheel and heated leather seats, as well as black faux-leather upholstery, too.

In terms of safety, Euro NCAP hasn’t yet crash-tested the new car. However, the outgoing model bagged all five stars, and we expect much of the same here. More high-strength steel has been used this time, which bolsters its shell.

Hill-start assistance and electronic stability control are standard. Autonomous Emergency Braking, meanwhile, is an optional extra for the entry-level model.

Kia Rio Hatchback Review: Costs

Prices for the new car start out from £12,100 and rise to £17,700. For more information on our lease deals, check out our page here.

In terms of its running costs, the Rio is a star. We cover the most frugal hybrid engine in a separate review, which you can find here. But the economy is good across the range. The 1.4-litre 76bhp diesel engine averages an impressive 80.7mpg. Even the 89bhp variant with its extra power can return 74.3mpg.

The petrol engines are likely to be less popular, but the 1.0-litre 99bhp model shouldn’t be discounted. It returns 62.8mpg, and emits just 102g/km of CO2.

And although the bigger 1.0-litre engine is the most powerful in the range, it can still return 60.1mpg. It also emits the same CO2 as the 99bhp model.

The diesels emit less than 100g/km of CO2, but this doesn’t mean they’re free to tax anymore. All Kia Rio’s cost £140 a year to tax.

Pros and Cons


7-Year Warranty

Kia’s continue to stand out with their seven-year warranties, which are largely unmatched elsewhere.

Excellent Economy

If you’re planning on putting the miles in, returns of over 80mpg from the diesel should be music to your ears.


It’s classed as a supermini, but it offers the practicality of a compact hatchback.


Achingly Dull Steering

It’s far from exciting on the road and won’t make the morning commute any more fun.

Boring Design

It’s probably the least jolly-looking supermini on the market. Ever.

Can you see yourself driving around in the Kia Rio Hatchback? We recommend you take a look at their amazing history

Kia Rio Hatchback vs Hyundai IX20 vs Mazda 2

Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our Kia Rio Hatchback review.

Kia Rio Hatchback vs Hyundai IX20

The new Hyundai IX20 sounds like it shouldn’t work. It’s basically got a lot of hatchback qualities but is no bigger than a supermini. It does work – kinda.

On the road, the Hyundai is as lacklustre as the Kia. It’s capable enough, but lacks agility. It’s not entertaining, and neither is it especially fast.

Still, it’s easy to drive. Visibility is good, the steering is nice and light, and the driving position is raised. It all means that getting about in the city is a simple, straightforward affair. Body lean is a bit pronounced if you approach corners too quickly, though.

Hyundai ix 20 in silver parked with silver background

For the purpose of this comparison, we’re just focusing on the IX20’s petrol engines. The smallest is a 1.4-litre power plant that offers more performance than any of the two diesel engines. It can do 0-62 in just shy of 13.0 seconds and is mostly quiet.

The bigger petrol engine is a 1.6-litre unit that’s only marginally quicker. It will do 0-62 in 12.2 seconds, and lacks oomph.

Neither engine is what you’d call especially cheap to run, with the 1.4-litre returning 50mpg. The 1.6-litre unit returns 44mpg. Moreover, both are costly to tax. The former costs £100 a year and the latter costs £180 a year in road tax.

Inside, the cabin is a pretty quiet place to be thanks to the refinement of the petrol engines. It’s also a comfy place to be, with Hyundai working hard on this aspect. In fact, this is an area where the car really excels.

The dashboard is a bit Plain-Jane, but it’s easy to use. The buttons are big enough so as to not be a hassle, and they’re also marked clearly. The plastics are a bit hard, but they’re built to last.

In terms of practicality, the IX20 does well. The 440-litre boot is outstanding for this class, and trumps the Kia. Fold the rear seats, and you can extend that to 1,486-litres. It also comes with underfloor storage.

Headroom is good, while legroom is much better in the rear than in the Rio. Even taller people will be able to settle and get comfortable, while five adults should be able to squeeze in.

The steering wheel adjusts for rake and reach, but the driver’s seat adjusts for height only. We think there could be more storage spaces, but this is a solidly usable super mini.


Kia – £12,100 – £17,700
Hyundai – £14,900 – £18,500

Kia Rio Hatchback vs Mazda 2 Hatchback

Purple Mazda 2 driving on tarmac road next to some fields

The new Mazda 2 Hatchback is the best-looking car in this review. It’s arguably the most modern too, and offers the best driving experience.

Are there any downsides?

For one thing, the petrol engine is noisier than the Kia and the Hyundai. This is a shame, and it doesn’t get any quieter after you’ve fired it up. If anything, it gets even noisier as you work your way through the gears.

It is, however, smooth and quick. It’s a 1.5-litre power plant, and the sole engine in the line-up. It’s available in three power guises, starting out with a 74bhp variant that takes 12.1 seconds to do 0-62. That’s not especially quick, but the more sure-footed 89bhp does the same dash in 9.4 seconds.

If you can afford it, the bigger 113bhp variant takes just 8.7 seconds to complete the 0-62 sprint. That’s mighty fast for a supermini, and it doesn’t max out until 124mph.

Overall, the Mazda 2 is a fun car to drive. Its steering is a bit airy and lacks feel, but Mazda has now added their G-Vectoring Control system. This improves the accuracy of the steering.

A 5-speed manual transmission is standard, but you can specify a 6-speed automatic for the 89bhp model. And although you can request 16” alloys, be warned that they’re not as comfortable as the smaller ones.

Running costs are good. The smallest 74bhp engine returns 60.1mpg, and emits just 110g/km of CO2. The 89bhp fares even better, returning 62.8mpg and costing less to tax. However, adding the automatic ‘box will bump up the costs.

The 113bhp variant, meanwhile, is good for returns of a 56.6mpg economy.

Inside, it’s very hard to find fault with the Mazda 2. The cabin is smart and modern, and is easily the most aesthetically pleasing in this review. Button clutter was an issue last time, but that’s been remedied by a 7” touchscreen that’s available on more expensive models. It’s super easy to operate, and is compatible with your smartphone.

Build quality is good, while nice touches include carbon-fibre trim and stitched leather seats. It’s a stylish place to spend your time on the road.

Practicality has been improved. The car is bigger than last time, which means more interior space. Five adults might still be a tad squeezed, but they shouldn’t feel claustrophobic. Elbow room is better, and it’s an ideal car for young families.

The boot is now bigger, too. However, while 280-litres is competitive in this class, it’s miles off what the Kia and the Hyundai can offer. You can fold the rear seats for 960-litres of space, while the boot is deeper than last time. This is because there is no spare wheel.


Mazda – £12,700 – £17,000

Verdict Of Our 2017 Kia Rio Hatchback Review

The Rio is not the same car it was. It’s so much better in its fourth generation. Much better looking inside and out, it’s got the same appeal as rivals at last.

True, there are still drawbacks, such as an average ride and cheaper plastics. But when it comes to value, modern tech, space, usability and low running costs, it’s hard to beat the Kia Rio Hatchback.

Has the Kia Rio Hatchback tickled your fancy? Let's discover why they offer a Seven-Year-Warranty here today

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The amazing thing about the Kia Rio is that it actually drives really well on Britain’s awful surfaces. Indeed, it’s hard to think of a more assured supermini than this tenacious new Kia Rio - perhaps with the obvious exception of the super composed Ford Fiesta. In its locker is an ability to manage a…

Presented by Will Titterington

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