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2019 Kia Rio5 Overview

Kia redesigned the Rio 5-Door in 2018, trading the previous model’s cheerful styling for a more mature appearance with additional content. Thus, the 2019 is a carryover.

The Rio 5-Door competes in the same subcompact-hatchback arena as the Ford Fiesta Hatchback, Honda Fit, Mitsubishi Mirage, Nissan Versa Note, and Toyota Yaris. Th Rio’s utility is right in line with those cars: there is 17.4 cubic feet of cargo space, which expands to 32.8 when the 60/40 split-folding rear seat goes down. There’s also room for five people, though, like most subcompact cars, adults may find the rear seats to be cramped on long journeys.

Previously, Kia offered the Rio 5-Door in LX, S, and EX trims, but 2019 sees only the S trim. You get 15-inch steel wheels with wheel covers, Bluetooth, cruise control, keyless entry with an alarm, air conditioning, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, automatic lights, heated exterior mirrors, cloth upholstery, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Unfortunately, since the upscale EX trim is no more, you lose its niceties, which include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, fog lights, and alloy wheels. That said, a new Tech Package gives you LED headlights and daytime-running lights, a nicer instrument cluster, telematics, satellite radio, and tire-pressure monitoring that displays individual tire pressures.

Every Rio 5-Door gets a 1.6-liter inline 4-cylinder engine with 130 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque. Its fuel economy figures of 28 mpg city, 37 highway, and 32 combined are matched or exceeded by vehicles one or two sizes larger. As a benefit of the new single trim approach, last year’s standard 6-speed manual transmission went by the wayside, and a 6-speed automatic now comes with all units.

The Rio 5-Door is light on safety features; the only standard items are airbags and a reversing camera. The aforementioned Tech Package gets you forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, which was previously bundled with the EX trim. While the 5-door hasn’t been crash tested, the similar Kia Rio sedan earned a 2018 Top Safety Pick Plus award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Kia’s simplification of the Rio 5-Door line reflects a market that’s steadily shifting away from such vehicles. Still, if you want a subcompact hatchback with reasonable amounts of space and handsome styling, the Rio 5-Door may be the answer.


Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.

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