The Kia Rio is a subcompact that is inexpensive, stylish and a spacious little car. It delivers sprightly performance, great fuel economy and agile handling.
As Kia’s smallest car, the 2010 Rio boasts the brand’s smallest price, making it one of the least expensive new cars you can buy in the United States. It also delivers respectable fuel economy, looks sharp in SX trim and is backed by Kia’s stellar warranty.
Two body styles, the sedan and the Rio5 four-door hatchback, are available to provide more of a choice to potential buyers. It all stacks up to make the Rio an excellent daily driver.
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The 2010 Kia Rio is a subcompact available as a sedan or a four-door hatchback. The sedan comes in base, LX and SX trim levels, while the Rio5 hatchback comes in LX and SX trims only.
The base sedan is bare-bones, coming standard with 14-inch steel wheels and a four-speaker stereo with a CD/MP3 player and satellite radio. The LX adds popular features such as air-conditioning, power steering, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, a tilt steering wheel and an auxiliary audio jack.
The SX trim level adds foglights, 15-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, metallic interior accents, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and upgraded cloth trim.
Optional for the LX and SX is a power package that adds full power accessories, keyless entry and tweeter speakers. Sixteen-inch alloy wheels are additionally available for the SX.
Every 2010 Kia Rio is powered by a 1.6-liter inline-4 with 110 horsepower and 107 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard across the board, while a four-speed automatic is optional on all but the base sedan. A Rio5 SX automatic tested took 11.5 seconds to run to 60 mph.
EPA fuel mileage estimates for the Rio stand at 27 mpg city/33 mpg highway and 30 mpg combined with the manual transmission and 26/35/30 mpg for the automatic.
Front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are standard on all Rios. The LX and SX trims also come with adjustable rear headrests. Antilock disc brakes are optional on those higher trim levels as well.
The Rio’s cabin, especially in beige, has an airy feel unexpected in this price segment. The materials quality is generally above average. A fold-down armrest is standard for the driver. In back, headroom and legroom are fully adequate and the tall bench provides good thigh support. The Rio5, with its rear seats lowered, can take on up to 49.6 cubic feet of cargo.