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Tale of the Tape: 2018 Kia Rio

All images via Kia

The all-new fourth-generation 2018 Kia Rio is the brand’s best-selling model and top seller in Europe.

Competing against class stalwarts Fiesta, Yaris, and the Versa, the 2018 Kia Rio saw a conservative redesign.

However, it continues to languish behind class leaders in recognition, market share, and ‘it’ factor.

Let’s take a look at the 2018 Kia Rio’s specifications.

Design

The 2018 Kia Rio differs slightly from the 2017 version. Its all too familiar tiger-nose grille and headlamps remain, but this year it carries a squarish front vs. the bubble shape of yesteryear.

Its hood is longer and flatter, and a rear tailgate sits more vertically in a tribute to the Sportage.

Performance

The 2018 Kio comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder direct injection engine, producing 130 horsepower and 119-pound-feet of torque, with the choice of a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic.

These specifications make it one of the most powerful engines in the class. Fuel economy is 29 mpg city/37 mpg highway, an improvement of up to three miles a gallon vs. 2016.

A new tuning suspension makes the 2018 Kia Rio more agile, too.

Interior

The car carries a duo-tone leather interior, which wraps across the dashboard. On the technology front, the dash features a 7-inch LCD supporting Apple Carplay and Android Auto with UVO3 voice recognition supported with the higher trims. Standard Bluetooth connectivity and a backup camera are also included.

Safety

Its new body structure and safety suite have awarded it a top safety pick from the Institute for Highway Safety.

With a highly competitive subcompact car class that includes the likes of the Honda Fit, Chevrolet Sonic, and Ford Fiesta, it’s a tall order to recommend the 2018 Kia Rio over these leaders. They are ahead in storage capacity (e.g., 14 cubic feet vs. the Fits 50+ cubic feet with magic seats) and fuel economy of up to 40 combined mpg vs. Kia’s below average 36 mpg.

Its Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also ranges from marginal to good across five types of tests, including side-impact and rear crash, not a good look for a car defined as a subcompact.

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