Exploring the Features and Performance of the Kia Rio

The Kia Rio is one of the last subcompact cars in the market. In fact, this little car ended production with the 2023 model year.

Just because this little car is gone from the market doesn’t mean you can’t still find a new model at a great price. There are many remaining 2023 versions waiting to be plucked up and driven home. With that in mind, we’ll explore what you can expect and find in this little car when you visit a nearby Kia dealership.

Body styles and powertrains

For the past few years, the Rio was something different from other subcompact cars. It was one of the only models in the class offered as a sedan and hatchback, providing two distinct body styles for owners to enjoy.
Every version of this final Kia car is powered by a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine attached to a CVT automatic transmission. This powertrain produces 120 horsepower and 112 lb-ft of torque while returning 33 city/41 hwy mpg. There isn’t an AWD option for this car; every Rio comes as a FWD vehicle.

Two trims are all you get for this little Kia

The final version of the Kia Rio comes in only two trim levels, which keeps things even more simplified than you might expect. These trims are LX and S. Additionally, very few changes were made from the 2022 version to this final model. Let’s see what each trim has for you.

Rio LX

The base model, Rio LX, only comes in the sedan body style. This means if you’re looking for the hatchback version of this car, you have to step up to the S trim. This base model is extremely sparse, which leads to its affordable price, but it still might not have everything you want in your subcompact sedan.

The Rio LX includes:

  • Power windows
  • Air conditioning
  • 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
  • Intermittent windshield wipers
  • Heated, power mirrors
  • Tilt steering column
  • 3.5-inch LCD instrument cluster display
  • Trip computer
  • Rearview camera
  • Cloth seats
  • 8-inch infotainment touchscreen
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • USB port
  • Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

Unfortunately, the Rio LX doesn’t have any modern safety equipment or driver assist technology. You won’t find niceties such as cruise control and remote keyless access in this subcompact car. These omissions might be a bit alarming to some drivers.

Rio S

The Kia Rio S is a much more popular choice for most drivers. This is where you have the hatchback option and many additional standard features that make this car a much more enjoyable vehicle to drive. At this trim level, you can also enjoy the benefits of an available Technology Package, which isn’t offered for the LX trim.

Features you’ll find in the Rio S are:

  • Sliding front center armrest with storage
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seat
  • Rear adjustable headrests
  • Rear USB charger
  • Cruise control
  • Remote keyless entry

If you add the Technology Package, you’ll receive many of the features found in larger modern cars. This package gives the Kia Rio S the following:

  • LED headlights
  • 15-inch alloy wheels
  • Chrome door handles
  • Rear disc brakes
  • Automatic climate control
  • SiriusXM satellite radio
  • Push-button starting
  • Tire pressure monitoring
  • 4.2-inch driver information display
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Lane follow assist
  • Automatic high beams
  • Driver attention warning
  • Rear occupant alert

As you can see, the Technology Package makes the Kia Rio S a much more livable and enjoyable car to take out on the road.

What makes this subcompact Kia a good choice?

The 2023 Rio is the top-rated car in its class. That might not seem like saying much, but being on top makes for an attractive and enjoyable vehicle to drive. Some of the pros and cons of this little car are:


  • Reasonable pricing
  • Great warranty
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Efficient powertrain
  • Sedan and hatchback body styles


  • Small trunk, even in this class
  • Driver assistance features only offered on the top trim

How much space does this car offer?

The Kia Rio has plenty of room for the driver and front passenger while providing 33.5 inches of rear legroom space. The sedan has 13.7 cubic feet of trunk space, and the hatchback gives you 17.4 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats. When the seats are folded down, this space increases to 32.8 cubic feet.

You can still find some 2023 Kia Rio models at your local Kia dealer. If you find the Rio S hatchback with the Technology Package, you’ve got everything this little car has to offer. Will you drive one of these little Kia cars home today?

This post may contain affiliate links. Meaning a commission is given should you decide to make a purchase through these links, at no cost to you. All products shown are researched and tested to give an accurate review for you.

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