The Rio's direct-injected engine is among the more efficient engines of its size, returning fuel economy ratings of 29 mpg city and 37 highway with the manual transmission. Also of note is the Rio's optional fuel-saving Idle Stop and Go Technology -- that automatically shuts the engine off at stoplights and restart it when the brake is released.
The Rio's lightweight structure uses more high-strength steel, while the suspension -- MacPherson struts in front, with a stabilizer bar and a torsion-beam setup in back -- is configured for a good combination of nimble around-town handling and good passenger comfort. SX models get a somewhat stiffer, sportier calibration.
Overall, there's no significant difference in passenger room between the Rio sedan and hatchback models. However, the sedan is about a foot longer, bringing an especially roomy trunk. The hatchback's split-folding rear seatback frees up a vast cargo hold when down, making it arguably more versatile.
All 2015 Rio models come with six standard airbags, including front seat-mounted bags plus full-length side-curtain bags. Electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes are standard on the Rio, as is a Hill Start Assist Control system to avoid rolling back on uphill starts.
Rio LX models include steering-wheel audio controls, a trip computer, split-folding rear seatbacks and a driver's seat that's height-adjustable. EX models add a host of popular features including a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity with voice commands, power windows and upgraded trims. A Power Package is available on the LX, adding power windows and keyless entry, while a Convenience Package for the EX adds alloy wheels and the UVO voice-activated, touch-screen infotainment system.
At the top of the model line, the Rio SX comes with power-folding outside mirrors, dual illuminated vanity mirrors, a rear camera system and Kia's UVO voice-activated infotainment system. Additionally, the SX is dressed up with metal pedals, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an upgraded instrument cluster, LED front running lights and LED taillights. An SX Premium Package adds navigation with SiriusXM Traffic and rear camera display, which replaces the UVO system. Push-button start is also included, as are heated leather seating and a power sunroof.