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2023 Kia Rio Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons.

2023 Kia Rio Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: LX vs S

What 2023 Kia Rio Trim Should You Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

Looking around most parking lots, one would wonder if automotive manufacturers are even making small cars anymore. The roads are full of trucks and SUVs these days, interrupted by the occasional minivan. There are a few small cars that are still being made in 2023, however. The Kia Rio is a perfect example.

Drivers can choose between hatchback and sedan versions of the 2023 Kia Rio. While neither of them is particularly fancy or exciting, they are both very fuel efficient. The low starting price for this vehicle is also a large part of the appeal. Anyone shopping for a no-frills way to get around town without breaking the bank will want to put the Rio at the top of the list.

This year's Rio is part of the fourth generation of the vehicle, which made its premiere in 2018. There are no significant changes made for this year. Presumably, Kia has decided that the Rio is not broken so they do not need to fix it. With a starting price under $17,000, the Rio is going to attract drivers no matter what.

Keeping with the simple theme of the new Rio is the fact that there are only two trim levels available. Both of them are available as a sedan, but the hatchback is only available to those who choose to step up to the S trim level. Be aware that Kia refers to the hatchback as the "5-door" model of the Rio.

When comparing the different versions of the 2023 Rio, buyers will discover that the price does not increase very much. In fact, the difference between the entry-level LX sedan and the most-expensive S hatchback is less than one grand. Still, being familiar with what each version of the Rio brings to the table can help prevent buyer's remorse down the road.


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

The LX trim level of the Rio is available in only three subdued colors. They are Clear White, Aurora Black, and Silky Silver. This sedan shows off a black mesh front grille and body-colored door handles. The side mirrors are also body-colored, and they are heated as well.

Inside, there are not too many upscale features to talk about. This vehicle does come standard with air conditioning, although it is single-zone and manually adjusted. There is a six-way manually-adjustable driver's seat as well. As for the upholstery, it is woven cloth. Other highlights for the Rio LX include dual front cup holders, a day/night rearview mirror, and an overhead sunglasses holder.

Technology features are a bit more promising. An 8-inch touchscreen is standard for the Rio, and so are wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Bluetooth and Siri Eyes Free are also included. Further adding to the convenience are things like steering-wheel-mounted audio buttons and a single front USB port.

The 2023 Kia Rio LX is classified as a subcompact car. As a result, it is not all that surprising that the interior is a bit on the cramped side. The front seats provide a respectable amount of head and legroom, only small children will find the back seats comfy. This is a common problem for the class, however, and it is not one that is solved by stepping up to the S trim level and choosing the hatchback instead.

When it comes to what is underneath the hood, the Rio LX has the same thing as the other versions of the vehicle. It is a 1.6L four-cylinder engine mated to a continuously variable transmission, and the output is 120 horsepower along with 112 lb-ft of torque. Every 2023 Rio also comes with front-wheel drive.

Naturally, many drivers consider the Rio for its efficiency. The LX offers the same estimates as the S in both hatchback and sedan forms. Drivers can expect an impressive 32mpg in the city as well as 41mpg on the highway. The 2023 Rio comes with an 11.9-gallon tank.

While the fuel economy is impressive for the 2023 Rio LX is impressive, the driving dynamics are not. The 120 horsepower is enough to move the Rio around town and on the highway, but buyers should be prepared for a loud drone if they push too hard. On the bright side, this vehicle has a tight turning radius and does an adequate job of absorbing bumps in the road.

The list of advanced safety features for the LX trim is nearly non-existent. There is a rearview camera to help out, plus a tire pressure monitoring system. Drivers also get several more traditional safety features, such as hill start assist, electronic stability control, and crumple zones in the front and rear.

Despite the lack of fancy driver assistance features, the 2023 Kia Rio sedan performed quite well in safety testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It received the top score of "Good" in every category except the small overlap front passenger-side, where it got the score of "Acceptable."

One reason that drivers will consider sticking with the entry-level LX is that it has the same impressive warranty as the upper trim levels. There is a 10-year or 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, plus a 5-year or 60,000-mile limited basic warranty. Buying the 2023 Rio LX will also mean getting five years or 60,000 miles of roadside assistance as well.

Next up is the Rio S. Obviously, the biggest difference here is the fact that buyers can choose a hatchback body style rather than a sedan. Several extra paint options also become available. In addition to the colors offered by the LX, the S comes in Steel Gray, Currant Red, and Sporty Blue. Those who prefer a bit of color will likely be drawn to the S for the extra paint choices alone.

The exterior of the S trim level does not change unless one chooses the hatchback instead of the sedan. Chrome exterior door handles become an option for this trim, however. Both versions of the Rio come standard with 15-inch steel wheels, but the S trim level offers alloy wheels as well.

Choosing the Rio S will mean getting cruise control with steering wheel-mounted buttons. This version of the vehicle also benefits from a rear USB port. Also added to the back of this vehicle are 60/40 split-folding rear seats and a sliding armrest with a storage bin. This Rio also has adjustable rear headrests. One of the more useful additions made here is remote keyless entry. A remote trunk release is also gained by the Rio S.

For the entry-level Rio LX, the only interior theme available is Black Tricot with Woven Cloth. That theme is also available for the S trim level. If preferred, buyers can also choose Gray Tricot with Woven Cloth when they bring home the Rio S.

If cargo space is a priority for drivers, they will definitely want the S trim level so that they can bring home a hatchback. Sedan versions of the 2023 Rio have 13.7 cubic feet of trunk space. This is about average for the class, but it is not enough for much more than groceries or a couple of suitcases. The Rio hatchback, however, has 17.4 cubic feet behind its rear seats. When the rear seats are down, this version of the vehicle has a roomier 32.8 cubic feet.

There are no additional safety features added by the top S trim level. However, unlike the base LX trim level, the S has an available package. Not only does it bundle popular advanced safety features, but it also has a few handy convenience features for both the interior and exterior of the Rio.

The S Technology Package makes the Rio a lot more enjoyable to drive. On the outside, it adds LED headlights and gives the vehicle the previously mentioned alloy wheels. Inside, the package gives drivers automatic climate control and a push-button start.

Choosing to add this package to the Rio will also mean getting an upgrade to the infotainment system. The touchscreen remains 8 inches, but buyers gain satellite radio and Kia Connect, a collection of remote services. Drivers can use Kia Connect to lock and unlock their vehicle, find it if it is stolen, adjust their climate control, and more.

Many people will consider adding the S Technology Package to get those advanced driver aids that so many vehicles come with standard. Lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and forward-collision mitigation are all added by this bundle. The Package also includes driver attention monitoring and lane-following assist.

The 2023 Kia Rio has a starting price of $16,750. Choosing the S sedan will mean paying $17,390, while the S 5-door will cost around $17,700. Adding the S Technology Package will mean paying an extra $1,800. While that is no small sum, adding the S Technology Package to either version of the Rio S still keeps the price tag under twenty grand.


Final Thoughts

Typically speaking, the best trim level sits near the middle of the list. But what happens when there are only two real options in the first place? In the case of the 2023 Rio, buyers will be better off spending the extra money and going with the S trim. This is true regardless of whether or not they have their heart set on a hatchback or they prefer the sedan.

So, if the S trim level is the obvious choice here, the real question becomes whether or not to add the S Technology Package. The features found in the package take the Rio from a bare-bones work car to a comfortable vehicle that drivers should feel more comfortable putting their families in. It has popular driver aids, plus a few convenience features that make a genuine difference in the daily drive.

If buyers are shopping on a budget and are simply looking for an affordable way to get from A to B, the Rio S without any extras should suffice. If, however, the Rio is meant to double as a family vehicle, adding the S Technology Package is going to be worth the extra money.

The 2023 Kia Rio S is a well-rounded and practical vehicle with a lot of bang for its buck, particularly if buyers choose the hatchback version.

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Previous Year Trim Configurations:

2022 Kia Rio Trim Levels