2022 Kia Rio Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?
Affordably priced and more spacious than it looks, the 2022 Kia Rio represents new vehicle ownership at a reasonable cost. It isn't meant to be anything terribly advanced, so if that is what you are looking for, this probably isn't the vehicle for you. But, for the average buyer who wants something reliable and safe with a good fuel economy, the Rio might be a rather attractive option.
Available as a hatchback or sedan, the Rio gives you options. With a lot of competitors off the market now (such as the Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit), there aren't too many other vehicles out there to compare the Rio to. And, for better or worse, the Rio stands out because of this. There are still drivers out there looking for a smaller vehicle that can serve as a functional daily driver, and that's the audience Kia targets with the Rio.
While the Rio definitely has its drawbacks, it is one heck of a good choice as far as low-priced commuter vehicles go. Kia is reinventing the way it does cars, and that is something its revamped corporate logo reflects. Let's take a look at what's new for 2022, what we like about the Rio, what still needs some improvement, and how the Rio stacks up against its last few remaining competitors.
What's New for 2022?
Don't expect to see any big changes made to the 2022 Kia Rio. While there is nothing to really write home about, the Rio does now have an engine immobilizer that helps prevent theft. This prevents the engine from being started with anything but the ignition key that comes with the vehicle. And, of course, you get the cool, redesigned corporate Kia logo. But that's about it.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2022 Kia Rio – The Pros
1. Natural Steering
The 2022 Kia Rio's driving performance is characterized by natural-feeling steering. Effort is light, and the steering bulks up as it should. The front wheels provide a fair amount of feedback to the driver, letting the driver know how they are tracking. Most of its competitors have front wheels that offer little in the way of feedback, so this is definitely a bonus on the Rio. You will have to make some corrections while turning though since the steering can dart a little bit.
2. Predictable Handling
Handling is pretty controlled once you get it settled in. Initial responses do show some body roll, but once that has been smoothed out, the Rio feels much more controlled. While the economy tires tend to be loud, handling is at least predictable, working with the natural steering to instill driver confidence.
3. A Quiet Cabin
Even though the tires themselves are noisy, the sound gets well muted inside of the cabin while driving on slower roads. Road noise is also kept to a minimum around town. The engine can be a bit growly, but it is tolerable. The only time things get noisy is when you start zipping along at highway speeds. This brings forth some tire noise, and the engine is whiny even as you cruise.
4. Easy-to-use Climate Control
The Kia Rio is meant to be easy to use, and its climate controls reflect this. The three-dial system keeps things easy to read and comprehend. Air blows both intensely warm or cool - whatever you need it to do. For a basic system with a slightly slow rear defroster, the system is straightforward and functional.
5. Solid Build Quality
Kia might not be building a luxury vehicle here with high-end materials, but the Rio's build quality is strong. It looks much more upscale than other vehicles in this segment, and even the plastics (of which there are many) are textured for a more sophisticated look. Nothing shakes, rattles, or rolls while driving.
6. Straightforward Controls
All of the controls inside of the Rio are no-nonsense. You can pretty much look at a control and guess what it does. Everything is clearly labeled so as to avoid any confusion, and you should have no trouble finding where the controls are located. There are plenty of hard buttons, including those for the infotainment system. Even the touchscreen itself seems user-friendly.
7. Easy to Find a Good Driving Position
The Rio's lower seating position isn't as upright as what you find in subcompacts, and that's probably a good thing for most people. The steering wheel has a wide telescoping range, so you can slide in behind it and adjust as needed. The front seats also have plenty of adjustments to make finding a comfy driving position all the easier.
8. Plenty of Small Item Storage Areas
Small item storage areas abound inside of the Kia Rio. The Honda Fit used to dominate in this category, but once Honda nixed it, the Rio took the reigns. The center console has multiple cubbies, and the glovebox is sizable. The front and rear door pockets have space for water bottles, and the cupholders are able to hold larger cups. All told, you can find space for pretty much anything you need to secure, whether it is your travel mug or tablet.
9. Sufficient Cargo Space With a Flat Load Floor
The Kia Rio has quite a bit of cargo space for this segment, and the flat load floor makes placing cargo in and taking it out more efficient. The hatchback's 32.8 cubic feet of cargo space is respectable - at least, it is now that the Honda Fit has been decommissioned. The Rio sedan's 13.7 cubes is average but nothing too terrible to live with.
10. A User-friendly Infotainment System
Kia's infotainment system is one of the easier models to use. The touchscreen is superior to many models, even what you find on luxury vehicles. Paired up with functional voice controls and a decent stereo system, the Rio delivers entertainment in droves. Smartphone app integration is insanely easy, and you get several ports for plugging in.
Reasons Not to Buy a 2022 Kia Rio – The Cons
1. A Lack of Space In the Back
The 2022 Kia Rio is hindered by a lack of rear seat space. While the front seats are generous on head and leg space, the rear ones are not. You'd better hope you are not seated behind a tall front seat occupant if you are stuck in the rear seats. A tall backseat rider behind a tall front seat rider basically spells discomfort.
2. Slow Acceleration
The Kia Rio's standard 1.6-L inline-4-cylinder engine is rather sluggish when taking off from a stop. Launching from 0 to 60 mph takes 9.1 seconds, which is kind of at the low end of average for a segment known for slowness. There's nothing sporty about how this thing accelerates. To give it some credit, though, once the Rio gets up to speed around town, it does a good job of maintaining a little zest. But on the highway? Plan your merges and lane changes accordingly.
3. The Firm Ride Quality
The Rio's ride quality might be a bit too firm for the average driver. Most suspensions in this segment are tuned for comfort but aren't anything exceptional. The Rio's ride quality isn't terrible, but the firmness level could stand to be toned down a bit.
4. Difficulties Getting In and Out
One of the biggest problems with the way the Rio is designed is that the low profile means that the low roof forces you to duck down into the vehicle. For taller folks, this is nothing short of a chore. The door openings are considerably small, and since you have a serious lack of space in the back, rear seat occupants will have to contort themselves after getting in too. A slightly taller ride height and a little more space in the rear would help smooth out some of these issues.
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How It Stacks Up to the Competition:
2022 Kia Rio vs. 2022 Hyundai Accent
The 2022 Hyundai Accent is priced to compete with the Kia Rio, and compete it indeed does with its comfortable ride quality and quiet cabin. The Accent has a solid build quality and impressive amount of space inside, and its real-world fuel economy is downright impressive. And Hyundai slaps on a generous amount of warranty coverage as the cherry on top. There are a few downsides to owning it though. It doesn't come with onboard navigation, and the uncomfortable cloth seats trap heat on hot days. The USB ports struggle to charge phones, and only the top trim level has advanced safety features.
2022 Kia Rio vs. 2022 Nissan Versa
The 2022 Nissan Versa unfortunately suffers from sluggish acceleration, which is something that deters test-drivers. You'll also find that it lacks small item storage areas inside of the cabin, That being said, the Versa has a spacious trunk for hauling bulkier items. It also comes with a bunch of standard safety features for the price. Its high fuel economy and user-friendly infotainment system are what really lure in buyers though.
For what it's worth, the 2022 Kia Rio is a leader in a segment characterized as a dying breed. With stiff rivals like the Yaris and Fit both gone, Kia is free to play around with the Rio's design elements. Unfortunately, they do not seem to be taking advantage of this freedom. The Rio is one of the best vehicles left in this segment though, making it one worth considering if you are dead set on getting a subcompact.