2020 Kia Rio

This model has a 1.6 Liter four-cylinder engine with a CVT (continuously variable transmission). Normally, cars I’ve driven with CVTs feel like they bog down a bit. This is annoying. However, in this car, I really didn’t feel that. Kia has definitely improved on that point.

Gas Mileage

This car definitely shines when it comes to fuel economy.  For a non-electric or hybrid car, it does really well. It gets 33 miles per gallon in the city and 41 on the highway. That’s really outstanding. You will definitely save at the pump with this car.

Gauges and Controls

The gauges on this model are very simple and clean. The information center in the middle of the dash gives you the basics and not much more. The steering wheel contains the usual mode, calling buttons, up and down volume controls, and cruise control on the right.

Even though the controls are simple, they actually feel solid. They don’t feel cheap. I really appreciate this, and I feel like Kia spent some time selecting the right control buttons for this car. There is a simple switch for the dimmer control and traction control.  Nothing spectacular there.

Infotainment System

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on this car. I love that! This allows you to use all sorts of apps, including google maps, text messages, Spotify, etc. Driving a car with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is a wonderful experience.  If you have either of these devices, you should really consider a car with either (or both) of these infotainment systems.

The Kia standard infotainment system is okay, but it does not compare to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. It has maps and navigation, but it’s very limited.

Heat and Air

The controls for heat and air are very, very simple in this car. There is no dual climate control, but I think that’s okay. There is something to be said for having such a simple layout. I actually like this kind of simple, analog control setup for heat and air.

Sport Mode

There is a button for “Sport” mode. However, there is nothing terribly exciting about this. You will feel a little better acceleration, but the car is basically holding on to lower gears a little longer. You won’t blow the doors off a Camaro, but it makes the car a little more fun.


The seats are six-way adjustable cloth seats. However, they are manual seats. So, be aware of this if you really like your power seats. The back seats are nice, and there is a USB charging port. However, the back is a little cramped.

Trunk Space

There is a LOT of space to haul stuff in the trunk area. I was really surprised by this. Also, the rear seats fold down to open up even more space.

Target Audience

I think a college student or first-time car buyer would get a lot of value out of this car. It is priced very low at about $17,000. That makes it affordable for most people, even on tight budgets. Besides, it doesn’t feel cheap. It feels like a $23,000 car.

Final Thoughts

This is a great car for a commuter or young person. The red color is sporty, and the Apple CarPlay makes it fun to drive.

Written by Gary Pradel