2022 Kia Rio
2022 Kia Rio
The 2022 Kia Rio lineup consists of a small sedan and hatchback that emphasize fuel economy but don’t skim on luxury features. Even at $17,275 to start, the Rio comes with power features, wireless smartphone compatibility, and an extensive warranty.
Both Rio and Rio 5 hatchback models are powered by a 120-horsepower inline-4 paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
Excitement isn’t a Rio priority, although these subcompacts move along with more verve than economy cars of yore. LX and S trim levels offer a choice between budget motoring and a surprising array of niceties for the money, all backed by a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty.
The Rio is one of the most efficient new cars that’s not a hybrid or an electric car thanks to 33 mpg city, 41 highway, 36 combined, according to the EPA.
Crash-test ratings from the IIHS consist of mostly “Good” ratings plus an “Acceptable” score for front-passenger impact protection. The 2022 Rio has not yet been tested by the NHTSA. All models come with a score of airbags and stability control, but only the LXS includes automatic emergency braking. Outward vision is above average by small-car standards.
Kia offers the Rio in both sedan and, with the Rio 5 moniker, hatchback configurations. Sedans start at $17,275, money that buys 15-inch steel wheels, an 8.0-inch touchscreen paired with six speakers, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
The LXS trim level costs about $600 more and it adds cruise control, a convenient split-folding rear seat, and keyless entry, plus the option to add a $1,800 package that includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, lane-departure warnings, automatic high-beam LED headlights, and alloy wheels.
The Rio 5 hatchback comes only in LXS trim for $18,215, and it also offers the $1,800 Technology Package.
Forget economy-car basics. The 2022 Kia Rio looks a class up with handsome, clean lines in both sedan and hatchback body styles.
Up front, the cars have slim headlights flanking a tidy, narrow grille. Sedan models have a conventional three-box profile, while hatchbacks have a long roof that ends abruptly to maximize cargo space.
Standard 15-inch steel wheels wear plastic hubcaps, though alloy wheels are included with the Technology Package. Both sedan and hatchback models are offered in a relatively wide color palette.
The Rio features a streamlined dash with a big 8.0-inch touchscreen that seems to dominate the cockpit. Banks of intuitive controls and knobs flank the screen. Gray and black interior hues are available.
Front-seat riders will find a height-adjustable driver’s seat. Additionally, Kia molded in storage for a smartphone and cable plus some spare change in the console. In the second row, passengers will find a well-shaped bench with 33.5 inches of leg room.
Both sedan and hatchback models ride on the same 101.6-inch wheelbase, but the four-door is about a foot longer overall, with every bit of that extra length coming behind the rear wheels. Sedans offer nearly 14 cubic feet of cargo space, while hatchbacks grow that to 17.4 cubes, with nearly double that on offer when the seatbacks are folded.
The 8.0-inch touchscreen is big on tech with its wireless smartphone mirroring and user-friendly built-in software.
With 120 horsepower on tap from a 1.6-liter inline-4, the Rio is a subcompact car that offers power more akin to a larger compact model just a few years ago.
Straight-line acceleration isn’t the Rio’s priority, but it will keep up well with traffic around town and can maintain highway speeds. The CVT slides through an infinite number of ratios with more noise than speed, but it does a good job keeping revs low in low-load situations to maximize fuel economy.
The simple strut and torsion-beam suspension is tuned for a compliant, comfortable ride, with gentle around-town manners. Higher-trim versions have four-wheel disc brakes that stop quite well by subcompact standards, too.
Tasked with around-town use or occasional jaunts, the 2022 Kia Rio offers good road manners and the promise of terrific fuel economy. Forget about the subcompact car blues with the Rio’s high level of standard equipment, including a big touchscreen with wireless smartphone mirroring and affordable automatic emergency braking.
—by Andrew Ganz, with driving impressions from The Car Connection