Kia Rio

In 2000, Kia introduced the Kia Rio in the subcompact car category for the 2001 model year. The small hatchback was based on the Ford Aspire, which was built by Kia in the mid-1990s before the company began selling cars under its own nameplate in the U.S. Since production began in 2000, three generations of the Kia Rio were introduced. Throughout its lifetime, the Kia Rio also underwent several updates, but was always available in only two body styles: a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback.

More on the Kia Rio
Kia Rio Features

When the Kia Rio was launched in the U.S. marketplace, it was one of the most inexpensive cars that was mass produced and sold in the U.S. The style and affordability were key benefits for the car, but it had a reputation for poorly-built engineering a driving experience that was not enjoyable due to its small size and performance. With subsequent generations of the Rio, Kia made improvements to the car, including changing its platform to provide more room inside. While keeping the price of the Kia Rio low, it became a popular choice among affordable small cars due to the addition of further technological and safety features.

About the Kia Rio

The third generation of the Kia Rio was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March of 2011. This generation is again based on the Hyundai Accent, similar to the second generation. The length of the wheelbase was increased once again and was set at almost three inches longer. Both the four-door sedan and five-door hatchback were equipped with upgraded 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 138 horsepower. The four-speed automatic and five-speed manual transmissions were replaced by a six-speed automatic and manual transmission.

For the third generation, three separate trim levels were available: the LX base level, the premium EX, and the sporty SX. A start/stop feature is included in the automatic EX trim level, which stops and starts the vehicle automatically when idling. The car is turned off when it is not moving and turns back on when the driver’s foot is lifted from the brake pedal.

Kia Rio Evolution

The first generation Kia Rio was released as both a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback, which was designated as the Rio Cinco in the U.S. For its first year in production, the Kia Rio was fitted with a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that produced 96 horsepower. In 2002, a larger 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine with a power rating of 105 horsepower was fitted to the Rio. All first generation models came with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Power steering and a tachometer were included with the five-door hatchback, but were options for the four-door sedan. As well as replacing the engine, Kia also upgraded the brakes and suspension in the 2002 and 2003 models, and small changes were made to the car’s interior and exterior.

The second generation Kia Rio was launched in 2005. This generation underwent significant changes, including a brand new platform. The new platform was the same one found in the Hyundai Accent, and provided an increase of 3.5 inches on the wheelbase over the previous models. This meant that there was over one and a half more inches of leg room provided for passengers in the rear seats.

As well as sharing the same platform as the Hyundai Accent, the second generation Rio also shared the same engine. This generation had an engine upgrade to a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that was capable of producing 110 horsepower. The five-speed manual transmission was the standard transmission, while the four-speed automatic transmission was optional. There were two trim levels for the sedan, but the Kia Rio5 only came in one trim level. Both models underwent a refresh in 2010, including a new grille and a steering wheel design that was already found in the Kia Soul and Kia Forte.

Select a Kia Rio Year

2017 Kia Rio

Compact, Hatchback, Sedan

2016 Kia Rio

Compact, Sedan

2015 Kia Rio

Compact, Sedan

2014 Kia Rio

Compact, Sedan

2013 Kia Rio

Compact, Sedan

The 2013 Kia Rio offers a level of comfort found in vehicles a segment above.

2012 Kia Rio

Compact, Sedan

As a completely redesigned car, Kia went back to the drawing board to make the Rio stand out in a vastly increasing pool of subcompact competitors.

2011 Kia Rio

Compact, Sedan

Following a minor refresh that happened for 2010, which added new styling cues and interior options, not all that much has changed for 2011. Last year, the manual was the base transmission on all models; now it’s only offered on base Rio. Bluetooth connectivity is now available, and it is a part of the optional LX Value Package.

2010 Kia Rio

Compact, Sedan

2009 Kia Rio

Compact, Sedan

The 2009 Kia Rio is the smallest and most affordable vehicle offered by Kia.

2008 Kia Rio

Compact, Sedan

The 2008 Kia Rio has three models available: the base, LX, and SX.

2007 Kia Rio

Compact, Sedan

The 2007 Kia Rio continues with the 2006 redesign, making up for what first-generation Kia lacked.

2006 Kia Rio

Compact, Hatchback, Sedan, Wagon

2005 Kia Rio

Compact, Hatchback, Sedan, Wagon

The 2005 Kia Rio sells as a sedan and five-door hatchback manufactured and marketed by Kia Motors.

2004 Kia Rio

Compact, Hatchback, Sedan, Wagon

The 2004 Kia Rio is a subcompact car from the South Korean automaker.

2003 Kia Rio

Compact, Hatchback, Sedan, Wagon

The 2003 Kia Rio is a compact, economy sedan and wagon.

2002 Kia Rio

Compact, Hatchback, Sedan, Wagon

The 2002 Kia Rio offers an affordable option as one of the lowest priced compacts in the U.

2001 Kia Rio

Compact, Sedan

The 2001 Kia Rio is a subcompact sedan and hatchback that was introduced in 2000, replacing the Pride and Avelia.