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2022 Kia Rio Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons.

2022 Kia Rio Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: LX vs S

Compare the 2022 Kia Rio Trims - LX vs S. What is the difference between them?

In a segment that has seen many top competitors fall throughout the past few years, the Kia Rio is one of the few remaining hold-outs. Subcompact sedans are becoming a thing of the past, but Kia just won't give up on the Rio - at least, not yet. And, with the likes of the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris gone, the Rio has room to shine.

The Rio has been around since 2001 and is truly a survivor of what can only be deemed as The Great Subcompact Sedan Purge. It might not have a lot of versatility behind it, but the 2022 Kia Rio offers two trim level options (the base LX and line-topping S) at reasonable prices. With plenty of standard features equipped and a high fuel economy, the Rio is a capable daily driver.

There isn't any big news to share about the 2022 line-up. It does finally receive an engine immobilizer as part of its anti-theft system. You will also see the newly redesigned Kia corporate logo slapped on the front of the Rio, which honestly feels like the biggest change of them all. It is actually the last model in Kia's line-up to adopt this emblem, but you might not recognize it at first sight.

Everything else carries over from the 2021 Rio line-up, which did see a few alterations. Its front and rear bodywork were restyled for a more contemporary vibe. Inside, a new 8-inch standard infotainment system was equipped. And - bonus - wireless smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto was added in 2021 - something some automakers have yet to equip at all.

The Rio is characterized by its engaging driving performance and balancing of good fuel economy, but it has some drawbacks. Even for a subcompact sedan, its cargo space is insanely small. You won't be able to fit much back there. Also, since the steering wheel is not telescoping, you don't get a wide array of adjustments that would make for finding a good driving position with ease.

That being said, the Rio could be a strong fit for the right buyer. But which of its two trim levels holds the most value? Does the S justify the price jump over the LX? Let's go into detail as to which features can be found on each trim level and how they compare one against the other. That way, you can make the most informed buying decision possible. Will the Rio end up being something you want to test drive? Let's find out.


Compare the LX vs S Trims. What is the difference?

Let's talk about variants first. You can choose between either the hatchback (which Kia calls the 5-Door) or the four-door sedan. Note that the 5-Door is only sold as the S trim level, so you will be spending more if you decide to buy it. Each Rio, regardless of trim level or number of doors, is powered by the same 1.6-L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. This engine generates a power output of 120 hp and 112 lb-ft of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) directs power to the front wheels. All-wheel drive is not available. This powertrain is able to create a solid fuel economy of 36 miles per gallon combined (from 33 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway). It is one of the better fuel economies you will find in this segment now that the Fit and Yaris are gone.

There are a few more under-the-hood items to discuss here. The suspension is composed of a front strut setup and rear Torsion beam. You also get electric power assist, a rack-and-pinion steering type, speed-sensitive steering, and front disc and rear drum brakes. The wheels are made from steel and size in at 15 inches in diameter. Fore and aft, the wheels have a wheel width of 5.5 inches.

The Rio comes in your choice of three exterior colors (white, gray, or black) and only a black interior design. Both vehicles have a black grille up front with the redesigned Kia logo emblazoned on it. The sedan comes with a regular trunk while the hatchback obviously comes with a standard liftgate, which makes for easier access into the cargo area. Both of the side mirrors are power operated and heated. They both have auto-dimming equipped too. An antenna is integrated into the Rio's roof, and both bumpers are body-colored. The headlights are standard halogens with auto on/off. Note that these vehicles do not come with LED exterior lighting.

Time to jump into the list of safety features that come on the 2022 Kia Rio. Both the LX and S come with a standard rear-view camera, an occupant classification system, height adjustable seatbelts, pretensioners on the front seatbelts, 4-wheel ABS, brake assist, and an ABS and driveline traction control system. Also standard are a vehicle stability management system, a panic alarm, and the new engine immobilizer. Child safety rear door locks are all manually operated. Take note that a blind spot monitoring system is not available on either the LX or S trim levels.

Interior convenience features are modest but fairly standard for the segment. There are steering wheel controls mounted onto the steering wheel, and the S adds cruise control to that setup. Both trim levels have front and rear power-operated windows. The S adds a keyfob that allows for keyless entry on all the doors. Just don't look for anything like a garage door opener or wireless charging for your smartphone - this vehicle does not have it.

Now, here is something you are going to really want to consider when buying a vehicle - the infotainment setup. The Kia Rio's system is fairly standard but ultimately user-oriented. With this system, you get wireless smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on both trim levels. There is an AM/FM stereo and 8-inch LCD infotainment touchscreen display. There is no auxiliary input for audio, but you do get standard Bluetooth capabilities. The LX has one USB port up front but the S adds a second to the setup. Bear in mind that built-in navigation is not available on either trim level.

Finally, we need to address the comfort features found inside of the 2022 Kia Rio. The front seats are bucket style, and they are fairly basic. You will not find any lumbar support built into them, so comfort is somewhat limited compared to more expensive vehicles. The front passenger seat is manually adjustable four different ways, and the driver's seat is manually adjustable a total of six ways. The seats are upholstered in a standard cloth fabric. Leather is not available, of course. You also will not find any heating or ventilation on the front seats. And there is definitely no heating on the rear outboard seats. You also do not get any memory on the driver's seat.

The air conditioning system is manually operated, and it comes with a built-in air filter. A dual-zone automatic climate control system is not available on either trim level. The steering wheel is constructed from standard urethane material, and there is no option for a leather-wrapped steering wheel on this "economy" vehicle. Also, the steering wheel does not have a heating function. The rear seats on the LX are not split-folding, but they are 60/40-split folding on the S trim level, making it easier for you to pass bulky items through the cargo area as needed.

Other things you should not expect to find on the Kia Rio include remote engine start, sun blinds, and cabin preconditioning. If those are things you think you are going to need on your vehicle, you might need to consider spending more money on a non-"economy" vehicle to get what you want equipped.

If you want to add a few key upgrades, you will need to add the S Technology package. This package equips LED headlights up front, alloy wheels (still 15 inches in diameter), a push button start, and an upgraded sound system. Additionally, it adds a forward collision mitigation system, lane departure warning, lane follow assist, lane keep assist, and a driver attention warning for a few extra layers of safety while driving.

Kia does offer a pretty decent warranty coverage on the Rio. The basic powertrain warranty goes for 60 months or 60,000 miles - whichever your Rio reaches first. The powertrain warranty has you covered for 120 months or 100,000 miles. Corrosion perforation is covered for 60 months or 100,000 miles, and you will get free roadside assistance for 60 months or 60,000 miles. While Hyundai does slightly better, this is actually pretty generous considering the affordable cost of the Rio.


Final Thoughts

As you can see, the 2022 Kia Rio is a no-frills kind of car. It is priced for affordability, not luxury. Therefore, it might feel a bit bare bones if you are looking for something with more creature comforts. And, yes, Kia definitely sells those cars. But the Rio is a popular choice because it has a strong engine that puts forth a really respectable fuel economy.

If you are set on buying a 2022 Kia Rio, we suggest that you spend the few extra grand on the S trim level. Even though it clearly costs more than the base LX trim level, it is still quite affordable. It really does pack a lot of value into a neat little package. The extras that you get tend to make up for the minor price jump. Getting remote keyless entry (along with the keyfob), cruise control (with the control for it mounted on top of the steering wheel), a rear sliding arm rest, the 60/40-split folding rear seat, and rear USB port is something most people will appreciate.

However, we will also recommend that you equip the S Technology package. This gives the Rio a slew of extra driver aids that you will probably enjoy using since they tend to work pretty well. And, of course, who does not want a little bit of extra safety backing their daily commute? We think that most people will make the choice to equip this optional package, and it does not add a huge price jump to the overall cost of the Kia Rio.

Overall, the 2022 Kia Rio is a solid choice if you are interested in a subcompact sedan or hatchback. This segment has seriously dwindled down in recent years, and the Rio is left as basically its last bastion of hope. For a vehicle in this class, the Rio is a solid performer. It is actually quite fun to drive and still delivers a top-notch fuel economy.

Previous Year Trim Configurations:

2021 Kia Rio Trime Levels