2021 Kia Rio 5-Door

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2021 Kia Rio 5-Door Review: A Living Urban Legend

by Aiden Eksteen

Despite its diminutive size and discreet disposition, the 2021 Kia Rio 5-Door is actually one of the most quintessential urban-centric cars money can buy. With a pragmatic 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine at its helm calibrated for just 120 horsepower, it's clear that the Rio 5-Door hatchback has been purposed solely for the sound and efficient transportation of students, young professionals, and small families around the urban and suburban settings. In other words, no driving enthusiast will find any pleasure from the subcompact hatch and no leisure-seeker will find any veritable form of luxury. At a price of $16,990, the 2021 Kia Rio 5-Door hatchback aims to grab the attention of a different type of buyer, one that'll be on the hunt for a vehicle that will get them from point A to point B comfortable, safely, and reliably and all at an affordable price. In that space, there's also the Toyota Yaris and Chevrolet Sonic hatchbacks, and even the cherished Honda Fit. Though the 2021 Rio 5-Door does have some very compelling contemporaries, it still persists in the rapidly dwindling classification for good reason.

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2021 Kia Rio 5-Door Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2020 Rio 5-Door?

A small car needs to look funky, and the 2021 Kia Rio 5-door doesn't. It's the kind of car you'd expect to find in a rental parking lot. That's why the revised front bumper and grille are welcome additions for the new year. The new look is more aggressive, and the overall appearance is sportier as a result. On the inside, it now has an eight-inch touchscreen color display with a rearview camera, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This will likely be a big selling point, as some cars costing three times as much don't offer this as standard. Finally, there's a new technology package available to the fourth-gen model. It consists of LED headlights, automatic climate control, a smart key with push-button start, 15-inch alloys, and some driver-assistance features.

Pros and Cons

  • Peppy and nimble urban-centric performance
  • Compliant and refined ride quality
  • Class-leading fuel economy figures
  • Splendid crash-test safety rating
  • Industry-leading warranty coverage
  • Limited steering wheel and driver-seat adjustability
  • CVT is no fun and unengaging
  • Standard features list is rather scanty
  • Fairly cramped rear seat

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2021 Kia Rio 5-Door Trims and Prices

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
S Hatchback
1.6L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive

Rio 5-Door Exterior

2021 Kia Rio 5-Door Front Angle View KIA
2021 Kia Rio 5-Door Rear Angle View KIA
2021 Kia Rio 5-Door Side View KIA
See All 2021 Kia Rio 5-Door Exterior Photos


  • Length 160.0 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 2,762.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

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

Rio 5-Door Performance

2021 Kia Rio 5-Door Front Angle View 1 KIA
2021 Kia Rio 5-Door Front View Driving KIA
2021 Kia Rio 5-Door Gearbox Controls KIA

Engine and Transmission

Though it has just 120 hp and 112 lb-ft of torque instilled to its 1.6-liter inline-4 gas engine, the Rio 5-Door hatchback still has enough power to feel pretty nippy and smooth off the line, particularly around town. The engine comes mated with a continuously variable automatic transmission, which supports the Rio's compliant and thrifty character, efficiently forwarding outputs to the car's front-wheel drivetrain. The Rio 5-Doors performance is fairly pleasant overall, it's even a little entertaining at times, but it's clear that its penchant is for driving ease and fuel efficiency.

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

Rio 5-Door Gas Mileage

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    11.9 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 33/41 mpg
* 2021 Kia Rio 5-Door S Hatchback Automatic

Rio 5-Door Interior

2021 Kia Rio 5-Door Dashboard KIA
2021 Kia Rio 5-Door Steering Wheel Controls KIA
2021 Kia Rio 5-Door Infotainment System KIA
See All 2021 Kia Rio 5-Door 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 38.0 in

Rio 5-Door Trunk and Cargo Space

2021 Kia Rio 5-Door Dashboard 1 KIA
2021 Kia Rio 5-Door Back Seats KIA
2021 Kia Rio 5-Door Rear Angle View 1 KIA
  • Maximum Cargo Space
    32.8 ft³

Rio 5-Door 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 5-Door A Good hatchback?

When it comes to entry-level budget motoring, the 2021 Kia Rio 5-Door hits all the right marks really well. It's one of the most affordable cars sold in the USA and it offers oodles of value in the somewhat fun and very economical performance that it delivers, and in its superb safety and reliability standards. It feels nippy around town and is exceptionally easy to drive with its subcompact proportions and light curb weight. Two adults and three children will happily occupy the hatch - the cabin is fairly spacious and comfy and there's a good amount of room in the trunk for work stuff, groceries, and school bags. The standard selection of creature comforts and conveniences is rather scanty, but the eight-inch infotainment touchscreen and inclusion of wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay sets the Rio 5-Door a step ahead of many of its competitors and should be more than enough for the average commuter. The IIHS's review of the 2021 Kia Rio 5-Door reports excellent scores across the board, and J.D. Power granted the model above-average reliability ratings. All in all, the Kia Rio 5-Door offers exceptional value for the money and is an ideal urban runabout.

What Kia Rio 5-Door Model Should I Buy?

Kia proffers the Rio 5-Door as a standalone model but there are some options available to peruse. Considering that the Rio doesn't come very well outfitted with driver assists, we'd suggest opting in the Technology Package. This equips the hatchback with LED headlights, automatic climate control, and some much needed advanced driver-assist features including forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, and lane-keep assist with lane departure warning.

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