David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/11/18 3:19 p.m.

The Kia Rio is new for 2018, but let’s start by answering one important question: Yes, you can still get it with a manual transmission. That six-speed box comes mated to a 130-horsepower, 1.6-liter, direct-injected engine. Curb weight for that combo is listed at 2648 pounds.

However, there’s a caveat to that statement: The manual box is only available with the base LX trim. If there’s a silver lining here, the stick can be ordered with the sedan as well as the 5-Door model.

Our test car, the top-of-the-line 5-Door EX, was not so equipped. While it traded a stick shift for an automatic box, it came nicely equipped by most normal standards: alloy wheels, 7-inch center display, heated outside mirrors, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Something else standard: a 5-star crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Rio still uses struts up front and a twist beam out back. The big news for 2018 is the styling: “A new eye-catching design that is decidedly European,” the release states, while remaining a value buy. The sedan starts at $13,900, while our EX 5-Door starts at $18,700.

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Stealthtercel Dork
6/11/18 8:31 p.m.

In Canada, every Rio comes with heated seats and a heated steering wheel.  Now that's knowing your market.  OTOH, every Rio beyond the base model (the one with rear drum brakes) comes with a mandatory sunroof.  If yours had one of those, how was the headroom?  Also, how were the headlights?  The IIHS says they are awful... but, as I understand it, they test cars the way they get them, with no effort to check or fix aiming.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/15/18 1:24 p.m.

That's cool re. the heated wheel and seats. Yeah, it sounds frivolous until it's like 30 below. 

Good question on the headlights, but I didn't do a lot of night driving away from urban environments.

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