Text: Yousef Alvi  //  Photos: Geoff Dennis


The 2018 Kia Rio is a beautiful specimen of simple engineering.  Nothing inside or outside of the Rio screams cheap but it is cheap…our tester is loaded out at a tick over $18,000.  It is easy to make a car cheap. It is not so easy to keep the price down and not have it feel cheap.  The panel gaps are tight, interior materials are generally very good and overall feels like it belongs in a much more expensive car.  Our 5 door tester had plenty of room for four full side adults and generous room for cargo.

The Rio is powered by a 1.6 liter 4 cylinder making 130 horsepower and 119 ft/lbs of torque.  Yes, it is not a lot but it also does not weight a lot at 2700 pounds.  It will shuffle along merrily at highway speeds, city speeds, and sitting in traffic.  Driving the Rio at 3/10 or even 4/10 does generate a grin or two but it is not a pocket rocket.  It is made to commute and it does so brilliantly.

So how do I sum up the 2018 Kia Rio?  It is a car that does not scream out its existence but it whispers its pragmatism.  Its absolutely brilliant and it’s a refreshing change of pace in today’s world of excess.


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