2021 Kia Rio

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2021 Kia Rio Review: The Value Express

by Aiden Eksteen

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.

Read in this review:

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2021 Kia Rio Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2020 Rio?

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.

Pros and Cons

  • Surprisingly entertaining and comfortable
  • Contemporary, refreshed exterior design
  • Nicely upgraded infotainment system
  • Brimming with value at its fair pricing
  • Excellent IIHS safety rating and reliability
  • Cramped back seats
  • Fairly small trunk capacity
  • Minimal driver-assistance features

What's the Price of the 2021 Kia Rio?

Best Deals on 2021 Kia Rio

2021 Kia Rio Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
1.6L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
1.6L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
See All 2021 Kia Rio Trims and Specs

2021 Rio Exterior

2021 Kia Rio Front Angle View KIA
2021 Kia Rio Rear Angle View KIA
2021 Kia Rio Side Angle Driving KIA
See All 2021 Kia Rio Exterior Photos


  • Length 172.6 in
  • Wheelbase 101.6 in
  • Height 57.1 in
  • Max Width 67.9 in
  • Front Width 60.0 in
  • Rear Width 60.2 in
  • Curb Weight 2,767.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Aurora Black +$195
  • Silky Silver
  • Clear White
  • Steel Gray
  • Currant Red
  • Sporty Blue

2021 Rio Performance

2021 Kia Rio Front View Driving KIA
2021 Kia Rio Rear View Driving KIA
2021 Kia Rio Gear Shifter KIA

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine
    1.6L Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain

2021 Rio Interior

2021 Kia Rio Dashboard KIA
2021 Kia Rio Steering Wheel KIA
2021 Kia Rio Gauge Cluster KIA
See All 2021 Kia Rio Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
  • Front Leg Room 42.1 in
  • Front Head Room 38.9 in
  • Rear Leg Room 33.5 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.4 in

2021 Rio Trunk and Cargo Space

2021 Kia Rio Glove Box KIA
2021 Kia Rio Interior Overview KIA
2021 Kia Rio Interior Overview 1 KIA
  • Trunk Volume
    13.7 ft³

2021 Rio Safety and Reliability


  • Basic:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    10 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.

Verdict: Is the 2021 Kia Rio A Good sedan?

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.

What Kia Rio Model Should I 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.

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