To finish on top of sales charts, a subcompact car has to have certain attributes. First and foremost, an attractive price is a must. For $14,995 before freight and delivery charges, you’ll get a Rio5 equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox, power windows and locks, and an on-board computer. Not bad, right? Wait though, there’s also heated front seats, a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel as well as a back-up camera—features that many of its rivals don’t offer as standard. So you’ll be warm and toasty, but not cool; unfortunately, you’ll have to opt for the LX+ version if you want air conditioning.
For a subcompact, simply being affordable and well-equipped isn’t enough. Small cars should also be easy on the eyes. The old generation wasn’t outdated, but they tweaked a few little things and modernized the style. Five-door cars are always sexier than sedans, and the Rio5 is no exception.
The feeling of quality in the cabin has been enhanced, thanks in large part to the addition of soft materials in the doors. The effect is less noticeable in the basic variants, but as you work your way up the lineup, the impression of luxury is much more pronounced, particularly with the leather seats and seven-inch infotainment screen. Techies will be glad to know that it’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. They’ll also like the UVO system, which offers an array of functions controlled by your cell phone, including remote engine start.
Thanks to its increased height and width, the 2018 Kia Rio offers more room on board to the point that it’s one of the largest in its class. It is not the tallest, though, as the designers wanted to retain a certain degree of dynamism. The increased trunk capacity means you get almost as much room as in certain compact cars.
The 1.6-litre four-cylinder is back as the only available engine. It’s been reprogrammed so that torque can be deployed in lower gears. With 130 horsepower, the Rio5 remains the most powerful in its class along with the Hyundai Accent and Honda Fit.
We got to see the 2018 Kia Rio5’s capabilities firsthand on the magnificent roads in and around Quebec City. At the wheel, the car feels more solid and the creaking noises are less prevalent. Ambient noises are muted, and the only thing you hear is the little four-cylinder engine roaring when you push it too much.
Basically, the Rio5 offers a very pleasant ride, a lot like the Ford Fiesta. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, well-equipped, sexy car that’s fun to drive, the Rio5 is worth a look. In fact, that happens to be the biggest obstacle between it and the sales podium: getting people to take notice.