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Review: Kia Rio 5-Door

kia1My mom and I drove to Florida in August, my car started to decelerate. We pulled over to the side of the road for hours until someone pulled over to help us, then took us to the gas station where the tow truck met us.

We got some food and continued our drive, no problem.

I brought the car to the mechanic when we got back to North Carolina, and the mechanic said it was fine. But I’ve been pretty worried about taking it on long drives ever since.

When Pete and I were set to drive to New York for Christmas, we got in touch with Kia, which gave us a 2013 Kia Rio 5-door SX to review.

When the car arrived, I was the first thing I noticed was the color of it. It definitely stands out (which, I’m gonna be honest, made it easy for find in the parking lot).kia2

The car is a 5-door, which includes four doors and a hatchback. I never drove a hatchback before, so I was worried that the backseat was going to be cramped. That worry was completely dissolved when we had people in the backseat. My brother is over 6-feet tall and had plenty of legroom when he was sitting in the backseat.

There was a lot that we really liked about the car, so I’ll try to hit all the points below.


The trunk was really roomy. We packed enough for two weeks, plus a basket of laundry, plus our Christmas gifts for both families, and everything fit in the trunk and part of the backseat. If we had a third person traveling with us, we would have been able to fit them.

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The car can be upgraded to include a GPS, which we really appreciated, especially with the drive to New York and all. But, if you’re going in reverse, the camera doesn’t work. Why? Because it turns into a back camera.

Personally, I loved it. It was so easy to just look at the camera and figure out what was behind me. I didn’t have to turn around, check my blind spot, and hope for the best.

My mom drove the car and she loved this feature too.

But Pete thought it distracted him and since he was watching the camera, it thought it gave you a chance to miss cars that could come flying by.

It was most convenient when we had a snowstorm Christmas Eve. We were at Pete’s sister’s house and she lives on a block with limited visibility (especially at night in a snowstorm). I couldn’t see much, let alone whatever was behind me. This back camera gave me full view of what was around, which was a great help.

Speaking of snow, the car drove incredibly in it. I was worried that it might slip or skid, but none of that happened. We actually ended up driving it quite a few times in the snow (New York in December is full of snowstorms), but I felt very safe in it every time. I never once lost control of the car.

And, the car came equipped with heated seats. What a joy that was. My mom and I are both always cold so we absolutely loved this feature.


I really liked the layout of the dashboard. The screen was completely digital, from the amount of miles to empty, to the odometer, to the temperature. All the numbers were clear and easy to read.

The miles to empty are approximate, so don’t completely rely on them, especially since once you hit about 30 miles to empty, the numbers zero out so you better find the closest gas station.

I also really liked that the car came with satellite radio. My car has a tape deck and a radio, so satellite radio built in is huge. There were a bunch of pre-sets, and Pete picked three and I picked three. I did hear Taylor Swift quite a million times during the trip, but I didn’t mind. We didn’t hear too many repeats on the comedy station, so that was nice. We were also able to hear the football games — and see the score right on the dashboard.

We sure missed that when we got home.


The very first drive I took in the car was to the ATM, and that’s the first and only time I got to use (arguably) my favorite feature: the retractable mirrors.

I have a habit of pulling up to an ATM machine too far away because I’m too worried about knocking the mirror off. But then I end up so far away that I have to take my seat belt off and basically climb out of the car. Not with these mirrors. I was able to retract them, pull up close, and get my money while I was buckled in.

This feature is really great for city dwellers who park on the streets. If you’re worried about getting sideswiped and finding your mirror hanging, this is the way to avoid that.

Overall, I really loved the car. It drove fantastically, was roomy, and had a ton of features. Plus, it had some great highway mileage, which was excellent for us since we frequently drive between North Carolina and New York.

Pete was actually buying a new car very shortly after we got to test the Rio, and he almost purchased one (but the only one the dealer could find was an older one and then it got purchased by someone else). Pete ended up buying something else, but now my car has a check engine light that won’t turn off, so I’m in the market for a new car.

My search is beginning (and hopefully stopping) at the Rio.

Drugstore Divas got a chance to check out the Rio for this review. All thoughts are our own.

Autumn Banks

Wednesday 8th of May 2013

Sounds like a great car! I have always wanted to test a Kia but haven't yet. I may have to go take me a test drive soon... That camera has me wanting a new car and we just got one a couple weeks ago! haha