Though crossover SUVs and larger cars, in general, are excessively popular throughout the USA, there are still a significant number of savvy and/or budget shoppers scrutinizing the classifieds for value-rich offerings. The selection of small and affordable cars is extensive, but with its surprising mix of favorable qualities, the 2021 Kia Rio stands out from the throng, particularly with how very affordable it is. Motivating the 4-door subcompact sedan is a 120-horsepower 4-cylinder motor that is both competent and frugal, exactly what a shopper in this market could need. It surprises further in the compliant and refined handling it conveys and packs even more value in the features it comes with as standard. The Hyundai Accent and Nissan Versa are undeniably good options within the classification, too, but the Rio sedan may just have everything you're looking for and just a little more.
The Kia Rio receives a refresh for the 2021 model year, which includes exterior changes such as a restyled front end with new grille intakes as well as a new bumper treatment. The interior sees some changes that include a larger eight-inch touchscreen, and all trims, including the base model, now come standard with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A new S Technology Package includes LED headlights, automatic climate control, 15-inch alloy wheels, push-button start, and enhanced Drive Wise features.
See trim levels and configurations:
Powering the front-wheel drivetrain of the 2021 Rio is a 1.6-liter naturally-aspirated inline-4 gas engine that produces up to 120 hp and 112 lb-ft of torque. Though those power outputs are a tad wee, it's all the Rio sedan needs for pleasant urban driving and excellent fuel economy. It cruises effortlessly on the highway though overtakes will require planning and patience, and it easily keeps up with traffic in town. A continuously automatic transmission is standard in the Rio and contributes effectively to its compliant and efficient performance.
On paper, the 2021 Kia Rio seems like a pretty average car at its price, but the fact of the matter is, Kia has managed to design a car that is not only highly economical but, to an extent, fun to drive, too. It's also crammed with value at the outset, with even the base model coming standard with oodles of creature comforts and conveniences. The cabin may be mostly made up of second-rate materials, but as with the rest of the car, the build quality is spot on. The cabin is spacious, too, though only two passengers will really find any level of comfort in the back seats, but that's okay, as the trunk is also likely only large enough for four people's things.
With the IIHS having put the 2021 Kia Rio through review for its crashworthiness and bestowing it with a superb safety rating and a Top Safety Pick allocation, it's valid to say that the fourth-generation Rio is a consummate family runabout. At a price of $16,050,, the 2021 Kia Rio packs a lot of value and is a solid buy.
Being that the Kia Rio is a vehicle for the value-seekers and budget-conscious, we'd recommend going for the most affordable option in the lineup - the entry-spec LX. With this model, you still get access to an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen that comes installed with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality. There's also an auxiliary input jack and Bluetooth connectivity so you can keep yourself well entertained on your commutes. The drivers seat offers six-way manual adjustability and there is standard air conditioning, so there is at least some level of comfort for those cross-state road trips.
The most popular competitors of 2021 Kia Rio: