2008 Kia Rio

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Key Specs
Our Take
Overview
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
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Key Specs

of the 2008 Kia Rio. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    29 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    110-hp, 1.6-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    5-speed manual w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Fuel economy
  • Safety features for its class
  • Transmission operation
  • Maneuverability
  • Ride comfort on most surfaces

The Bad

  • Backseat space and comfort

Notable Features of the 2008 Kia Rio

  • 110-hp, 1.6-liter four-cylinder
  • Manual or automatic
  • Six standard airbags

2008 Kia Rio Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview
Essentially mimicking the Rio5 SX hatchback, the SX sedan includes larger wheels and a sportier interior. The Rio sedan competes with other small cars, including the Chevrolet Aveo and Toyota Yaris. In addition to the new front-wheel-drive platform, the '06 Rio's engine produced slightly more horsepower than the outgoing car's. Changes for 2008 include mostly modest interior changes.

The SX functions as the top trim level for the Rio, while base and LX sedans are also available. Each Rio has six standard airbags, including the usual frontal-impact devices, seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags.

Kia's Rio5 hatchback is covered separately in the Cars.com Research section.


Exterior
The Rio rides on a 98.4-inch wheelbase and is 166.9 inches long overall. Kia says the only exterior change for 2008 is a redesigned wheel cover for the LX.

Created with a European-inspired exterior, the Rio features a black mesh grille and swept-back headlights. The bumpers contain black inserts, and black bodyside moldings are installed. The Rio's profile exhibits what Kia calls a subtle wedge shape, with sculpted arches at each fender.

Body-colored mirrors and standard 14-inch tires are installed. Options include 15-inch wheels, all-disc brakes, fog lamps and a rear spoiler. On the Rio SX, 16-inch alloy wheels can be installed. Mudguards, a front mask, a hood protector and wheel locks are among the available accessories. Power steering is standa...
Vehicle Overview
Essentially mimicking the Rio5 SX hatchback, the SX sedan includes larger wheels and a sportier interior. The Rio sedan competes with other small cars, including the Chevrolet Aveo and Toyota Yaris. In addition to the new front-wheel-drive platform, the '06 Rio's engine produced slightly more horsepower than the outgoing car's. Changes for 2008 include mostly modest interior changes.

The SX functions as the top trim level for the Rio, while base and LX sedans are also available. Each Rio has six standard airbags, including the usual frontal-impact devices, seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags.

Kia's Rio5 hatchback is covered separately in the Cars.com Research section.


Exterior
The Rio rides on a 98.4-inch wheelbase and is 166.9 inches long overall. Kia says the only exterior change for 2008 is a redesigned wheel cover for the LX.

Created with a European-inspired exterior, the Rio features a black mesh grille and swept-back headlights. The bumpers contain black inserts, and black bodyside moldings are installed. The Rio's profile exhibits what Kia calls a subtle wedge shape, with sculpted arches at each fender.

Body-colored mirrors and standard 14-inch tires are installed. Options include 15-inch wheels, all-disc brakes, fog lamps and a rear spoiler. On the Rio SX, 16-inch alloy wheels can be installed. Mudguards, a front mask, a hood protector and wheel locks are among the available accessories. Power steering is standard only on the LX.


Interior
Increased exterior dimensions translate to more interior capacity in the five-passenger Rio. In fact, Kia claims the Rio has greater interior space than the larger Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla (though it competes more directly with the cheaper Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris). The Rio has 11.9 cubic feet of cargo space. The Fit, a hatchback, has 21.3 cubic feet of cargo space (with all seats in the upright position), while the Yaris sedan has 12.9 cubic feet of cargo space.

For 2008, Kia has added an auxiliary input jack for MP3 players in the LX and SX. The cupholder design has also been revised, and there's a new center gauge cluster and redesigned shift knobs for both the automatic and manual transmissions.

Standard equipment includes variable intermittent wipers and a rear-window defroster. Additional features in the LX sedan include air conditioning, a CD stereo with four speakers, a tilt steering column and a 60/40-split folding rear seat. An optional Power Package for the LX adds power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, heated power mirrors and door-mounted tweeter speakers.

The Rio SX also includes chrome dashboard accents, unique sport seat fabric and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob with red stitching.


Under the Hood
The Rio's 1.6-liter four-cylinder features variable valve timing and produces 110 horsepower and 107 pounds-feet of torque. Either a five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic transmission can be installed. Base models are available only with the manual transmission.

Safety
Seat-mounted side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags and front seat belt pretensioners are standard. All five seating positions get three-point belts. All-disc antilock brakes are optional on all but the base model. The standard brake setup includes front discs and rear drums.

Driving Impressions
Adding a few horsepower can make quite a difference in a small sedan. The prior Rio's performance was decidedly modest, but this recently redesigned version is easily adequate, even with the automatic transmission. Although the engine emits considerable buzz and blare when pushed hard, it's pleasantly quiet most of the time. Automatic-transmission reactions occur promptly and without any lurching or awkward gear changes. The manual transmission makes the Rio even more appealing for lively motoring.

Ride comfort is another plus. Even when the road surface gets rough, the Rio's suspension absorbs many imperfections.

Space is another story, at least in the backseat. Legroom even in the outer positions is marginal when the front seat is moved appreciably rearward. Additionally, the hard rear seatback is reclined too far for true comfort. Still, headroom is passable and foot room adequate, and getting into the backseat isn't too difficult. Despite short seat bottoms, the front seats are rather comfortable. Visibility is unobstructed.



Latest 2008 Rio Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.0)
Performance
(4.0)
Interior Design
(3.6)
Comfort
(3.5)
Reliability
(4.1)
Value For The Money
(4.4)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Great Car

by Anne from Orlando fl on March 15, 2018

This car has great space for a small car. It's very reliable and the gas mileage is great. I need to sell it to buy a van for my family but I will miss this car so much. Read full review

(2.0)

Horrible Window Seals

by Kan R from North, Florida on February 18, 2018

Poor design on door window seals. Both rear doors have windows seals have dry rotted and broken off in chunks. This causes a lot of annoying wind noise as you drive. In over 30 years of driving and ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2008 Kia Rio currently has 1 recall

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2008 Kia Rio has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Rio received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker