Kia Rio (2011 – 2017) Review

Kia Rio (2011 – 2017) At A Glance


+Much more stylish than previous Rio. Upmarket interior. 1.1-litre chain cam diesel emits just 85g/km of CO2. Three-door from £9,995.

-Not as impressively refined as a Volkswagen Polo. No standard DAB radio. Not particularly exciting to drive.

Insurance Groups are between 1–8
On average it achieves 76% of the official MPG figure

If you're looking for the newer model, you'll need our Kia Rio review.

The current generation Kia Rio, introduced in 2011, might not be the most entertaining or exciting car on sale, but there is no denying its value-for-money credentials. It is well built, easy-to-drive, economical, well-equipped and comes with a competitive warranty. For those seeking a cost-effective small car it should be high on the shortlist.

Those who really want to cut costs to the bone can pick the 1.1-litre CRDi diesel, which has official fuel consumption of as low as 88.3mpg and emissions of 85g/km. For most drivers, one of the other engines – a 1.25-litre petrol, a 1.4-litre petrol or a 1.4-litre diesel – will be a better choice, giving more refinement and a more ‘big-car’ feel.

That feeling of being in a larger car is one of the Rio’s best attributes. The cabin is spacious, practical and well put together, with room in the back for adults, even in three-door models. Plus there is a boot with plenty of room for a family shopping trip, or a run to the tip.

All models come with a good level of standard equipment including Bluetooth, USB connectivity and electric windows, but a few creature comforts like air conditioning or alloy wheels require you to buy a higher trim level, which means spending more money. That said, most versions of the Rio offer good value.

The Kia Rio might not set the world on fire with dynamic, exciting handling or hot-hatch levels of power, but for those who want a comfortable, well put together small car the Rio is easy to recommend. It should prove reliable, cheap to run and practical.  

Real MPG average for a Kia Rio (2011 – 2017)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

28–74 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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Ask Honest John

What is the real mpg for a Kia Rio?

"What should my mpg be on a Kia Rio 1.1 CRD1 EcoDynamics 2 14 plate "
Officially, the Rio 1.1 CRDi was advertised at 74.3–85.6mpg. However, according to Real MPG submissions, the true figure is closer to 59mpg:
Answered by Dan Powell

Which is the better engine, the Kia Kappa 1.0 turbo or the Mazda Skyactiv 1.5?

"I'm used to driving a small diesel but I now want to change to a small petrol car. I'm looking at the Kia/Hyundai 1.0 turbo engine in the Kia Rio, they seem to be high torque (171Nm kicking in from 1500 revs) whereas the Mazda Skyactiv 1.5 engine in the Mazda 2 has less torque at (148Nm at 4000 revs). Do you know if the Kia engine will pull more like a diesel at low revs compared to the Mazda? The Mazda seems to accelerate quicker, and fuel economy between the two is pretty much the same, so it is hard to decide on the better engine and drive."
The KIA Rio 1.0 Kappa is quite a joyful engine: The Mazda 2 is a better handler:
Answered by Honest John

What 4x4/SUV has low tax and high mpg?

"We have a 2014 Land Rover Freelander (15,000 miles) and a 2013 Kia Rio (22,000) on 17-inch rims (big mistake for country roads). We have a budget of about £20,000 and would like to change the Kia Rio for something higher and more accessible due to mobility issues. We've looked at the Honda HR-V because we want a 4x4 with low tax and high mpg. What other options do you suggest?"
Suzuki Vitara S 1.4 BoosterJet 4x4. Under 130g/km and reports say 45mpg+. Or a Peugeot 2008 1.2 Puretech 130 6-speed with Grip Control.
Answered by Honest John

Which used Kia Rio should I buy?

"I'm trying to help my brother-in-law buy his first car. He's in his early thirties, has little interest in cars and just wants reliable transport with a low insurance group. He mainly lives and works in London but is developing a career as a musician and is doing a mini-tour of some UK cities shortly, so needs a multipurpose small car, ideally with decent boot space. His budget is around £6000 and I've suggested a 2012-2014 Hyundai I20 or KIA Rio so he can benefit from 2-3 years remaining manufacturer warranty. The Rio seems to have a more upmarket feel and the longer warranty. First question is would you agree KIA warranty is worth chasing, and secondly which Rio version to go for? The diesels give better mpg but I'm worried about DPF problems and possible city bans and higher taxes on diesels in future. Only the smaller 1.1 CRDi seems in budget. We've discounted the 1.25 petrol for motorway work as only has 5 speed gearbox. So would you advise 1.4 petrol (higher tax & insurance, lower MPG), 1.1 diesel or try to stretch to a 1.4 diesel? Finally is it worth considering 1.4 diesel or petrol Kia C'eed as these are Group 7 insurance like the 1.4 Rio."
Yes. I get very few reports of trouble with KIA. The 1.25 engine in the Rio and i20 is actually quite economical. 40 - 50mpg. The 1.1 CRDi is the most economical. The Rio 1.4 petrol tested here: The cee'd 1.4 petrol is too low geared for regular motorway use. There have been a few complaints about the 1.4 CRDi. Look them all up in
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Kia Rio (2011 – 2017) cost?