Surviving another year, the 2022 Kia Rio is better than you'd expect of a subcompact. While others have abandoned the segment entirely, Kia continues to support entry-level buyers who don't want the larger Forte sedan. For the 2022 model year, the Rio returns mostly unchanged and continues to be offered as a sedan or hatchback.
The Kia Rio impresses in the subcompact segment. When we drove the 2021 Rio hatchback, we praised its confident road manners. Although not quick by any means, it's zippier than rivals. The engine makes quite a bit of noise getting up to speed, but power delivery is smooth and linear. The Rio's suspension does a good job preventing the driver and passengers from being jostled by bumps in the road.
As a package, our $20,000 Rio hatchback tester felt more refined than we expected, and not just in the way it drives. As typical with Kia products, the Rio offers good feature-per-dollar value; a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard. You won't find any fancy materials inside the cabin, but the interior is respectable, and controls are laid out logically.
The Kia Rio is ultimately a car for people looking to get from point A to point B. Still, it deserves praise for accomplishing that mission with so much poise.
Both the Rio sedan and hatchback feature a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 120 hp and 112 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a CVT automatic. In our tests, the 2021 Rio hatchback hit 60 mph in 8.6 seconds, making it quicker than the 2020 Yaris hatch (9.4 seconds) and Versa sedan (9.7 seconds).
The Rio is an efficient car. According to the EPA, it gets 33/41 mpg city/highway, no matter whether you pick the sedan or hatch.
You'll have to pay extra for driver assist technologies. Lane keep assist, lane departure warning, forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, and automatic high beams are all optional.
As expected from a subcompact, there isn't much legroom in the back of the Kia Rio unless both front row occupants are short. Cargo space behind the second row is also very limited.
Compared to the Nissan Versa sedan, the Kia Rio has more rear legroom, but less legroom in the front of the cabin. The Versa sedan offers more trunk space than the Rio sedan.
Legroom (first/second rows):
2022 Kia Rio hatchback: 42.1/33.5 inches
2022 Kia Rio sedan: 42.1/33.5 inches
2022 Nissan Versa sedan: 44.5/31.0 inches
2022 Kia Rio hatchback: 17.4 cubic feet (32.8 cubic feet with seats folded)
2022 Kia Rio sedan: 13.7 cubic feet
2022 Nissan Versa sedan: 15.0 cubic feet
The 2022 Kia Rio sedan and hatchback come standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, plus wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A four speaker-audio system with two tweeter speakers is also standard. A rear USB charging port is standard on the hatchback, and standard on the upper S trim sedan. Optional goodies include automatic temperature control and push-button start.
The 2022 Kia Rio is one of the most affordable cars on sale, with prices starting at just over $17,000 for the base LX sedan. We'd choose the more spacious hatchback, though, which starts at slightly over $18,000. This model is available in one trim level, the S, and from that we'd tack on the $1,800 Technology package for essential driver assist features such as lane keeping assist and forward collision avoidance assist with pedestrian detection. This package also gives you LED headlights, push-button start, and other helpful features.
In recent years, we've seen several subcompact cars leave the U.S. market. Ford no longer sells the Fiesta, discontinuing the model and its fun-to-drive ST variant after the 2019 model year. Around the same time, Nissan axed the Versa Note, Fiat dumped the 500, and Toyota got rid of its Prius C, which couldn't come close to the fuel economy achieved by the larger Prius. The Honda Fit disappeared after the 2020 model year, taking with it its impressive cargo capacity and confident cornering capabilities. Meanwhile, the larger of Chevrolet's two subcompact cars, the Sonic, has also said goodbye. And how can we forget the about the plucky Toyota Yaris? While tiny sedans and hatchbacks may be vanishing, there is no shortage of subcompact SUVs.
|$0||1.9% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48, 60 Months - Kia announces special APR Financing on select models.||01-31-2022|
|$0||2.5% Financing for a maximum term of 66 Months - Kia announces special APR Financing on select models.||01-31-2022|
|$0||3.25% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - Kia announces special APR Financing on select models.||01-31-2022|
|$0||4.25% Financing available for varying term lengths : 75, 84 Months - Kia announces special APR Financing on select models.||01-31-2022|