2013 Kia Rio 5-Door Review

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I was given a 2013 Kia Rio 5-door (SX) to test drive for one week. No monetary compensation was received and all thoughts are my own.

kia-rio-5 door

I like to start off each of my car review posts with an additional disclaimer: I am not an expert on cars. I don’t fully understand what a lot of the technical features and specifications are, so I base my reviews primarily on comfort, value, and similar criteria. I ask the questions: “Is it comfortable to drive?” “Are the features that I want available?” (I’m especially interested in what comes standard). “Are features like the stereo, AC/heat, and GPS system intuitive and easy to control when I’m on the road?” and “How much space is there for my family and all our stuff?”

2013 kia rio 5 door

I’ve spent so many years in the little kid/big family stage that I didn’t give much attention to smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles….but now that my oldest daughter is a senior in high school (as of 9:00 this morning. Eek!), soon-to-be-independent driver, and employed full-time, I’ve been looking at compact cars very differently. If nothing else, having a chance to drive a car like the Kia Rio 5-door around for a week has reminded me that driving can be FUN!

kia-rio-5 door interior

On the outside, the Kia Rio 5-door looks pretty small, but the interior felt very roomy. I was especially impressed with the amount of space in the trunk. I was able to load a full grocery haul in the back with plenty of room to spare. The driver’s seat (the most important seat in the car!) had plenty of room to adjust and move around – no cramping.

2013 kia rio 5 door


The Navigation System with Sirius traffic (part of the premium package) was easy to figure out, and I loved the rear back-up camera – it gave me a clear, thorough view of the entire area behind the car. The entertainment system was fairly simple and easy to adjust – I especially enjoyed the touch-screen radio option. I was impressed that the UVO (powered by Microsoft) with rear camera display is a standard feature in the model I drove. Both my husband and teenage driver remarked that you could see so much more through the back up camera than you could through the the windows and mirrors.

2013 kia rio 5 door


The SX model that I drove features 28 MPG for city driving and 36 MGP on the highway, with an estimated annual fuel cost of $1700 a year – a $3100 fuel cost savings over 5 years compared to the average new vehicle. I loved being able to do all of my normal driving for an entire week without getting even close to emptying the tank. The odometer conveniently indicates how many miles you can go before the gas tank runs dry, based on your driving trends.

2013 kia rio 5 door


Standard safety features on the Kia Rio 5-door:

  • Dual front advanced airbags
  • Front seat-mounted side airbags
  • Full-length side curtain airbags
  • 3-point seatbelts for all 5 seating positions
  • Antio-lock brake system
  • Traction-control system
  • Vehicle stability management
  • Hill assist control

The Kia Rio 5-door rated all 4 and 5 stars in the government’s 5-star safety rating system.

kia-rio-5 door navigation

The Rio is available in three trim levels: LX, EX and SX. The basic LX trim comes standard with air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, an AM/FM stereo system with CD, USB and AUX input jacks and convenient audio controls on the steering wheel. The EX trim adds additional standard features, such as power windows with automatic up/down on the driver’s side, a telescoping steering column, folding rear seats (60/40 split) and leatherette door trim. The SX trim adds leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, maplight with sunglasses holder, trip computer, illuminated vanity mirrors, UVO powered by Microsoft hands-free communication and entertainment system with rear camera display, chrome accents and more.

2013 kia rio 5 door

One of the Premium Package upgrades that I enjoyed was the power tilt/slide sunroof. I’m not a fan of driving with the windows down (it drives me crazy to have my hair flying all over the place while I’m driving) but I do love driving with the sunroom open, especially in the pre-summer pleasant spring weather.

Beyond the fun and convenient features that I enjoyed on the Rio, my favorite thing about driving this car was the maneuverability. It’s easy to drive, a breeze to park (NOT one of my favorite things to do in my minivan!), and quick to learn. And with a MSRP ranging from $13,800 for the basic LX trim to $17,900 for the SX. The SX trim with the Premium Package is still affordable at $20,790 MSRP.

All KIAs include a 10-year / 100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty, a 5-year / 60,000 mile limited basic warranty, 5-year / 100,000 mile limited anti-perforation warranty and a 5-year / 60,000 mile 24-hour roadside assistance.

Note: The photos of the blue Rio are pictures that I took with my cell phone camera while I was test driving. Other photos within this post are stock photos from Kia. I’m guessing it won’t be tough to tell the difference… Thank you again to Drive STI for another fantastic test drive opportunity!

© 2013, Lolli. All rights reserved.

About Lolli

Lolli has written 3181 posts on this blog.

I became a mom in 1996, and in 2005 I had my fifth. Yes, 5 kids. In 2007, this blog was born (my 6th baby that will never grow up) and I've been sharing recipes, photography tricks, parenting tips, and everything in between.

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  1. Never driven one of these before, but I’ll bet it’s great on gas! I have driven the Optima though, and loved it!
    Jennifer Medeiros´s last blog post ..How To Easily Keep Your House Clean


    Lolli Reply:

    Yes! It’s amazing how much better gas mileage I got while driving the Rio compared to my minivan!!
    Lolli´s last blog post ..Disney’s FROZEN: Sneak Peek


  2. Hi Lolli,

    That is a beautiful car! I am so amazed at how far Kia has come over the past 20 years! 20 years ago you couldn’t pay me to drive one of their cars and now… I want one!

    Thanks so much for sharing (your cell phone pictures look pretty good to me!),


    P.S. I bet your daughter will look super cute in that car! :)
    Homeschooling Mom´s last blog post ..Oh what do you do in the summertime?


    Lolli Reply:

    I totally agree, Victoria! I feel like Kia has zoomed ahead of the game in the last few years. They’re really impressive now!
    Lolli´s last blog post ..Whole Wheat Waffles – An Easy Breakfast Recipe


  3. If you and your 5 kids say it is OK, that is good enough for me! After all, I have only 1 kid but I am a hoarder and need the space for my massive grocery runs!
    Mitch´s last blog post ..FROZEN – New Teaser Trailer!


    Lolli Reply:

    Mitch, that’s me, too! There’s nothing worse for me than a car without enough space for all my food! 😉
    Lolli´s last blog post ..Disney’s FROZEN: Sneak Peek


  4. Love the trunk space in the Rio. I need more room in mine for EVERYTHING that I have to carry on a daily basis plus groceries.
    Chelsea Day´s last blog post ..Teaching Children Charity


  5. I love the backup camera on my car. I have bad visibility through the back window and the camera is a life saver. Looks like the Rio has a lot of space in the trunk.
    BusyWorkingMama´s last blog post ..Tree Removal After the Storm


  6. Like the placement of the seats. So spacious.
    joe´s last blog post ..On the way – Part 3


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