2019 Kia Rio Gt Line Review

2019 Kia Rio GT Road Test Review

2019 Kia Rio GT exterior front 3/4.2019 Kia Rio Gt Line Overview

KIA RIO was launched in 2017, and got a quick update in late 2018.

Some the Sport model replaced the old mid range offerings, and an updated equipment list was offered. This brought loads of tasty goodies such as active lane control and monitoring, and AEB. Most importantly, the GT Line and it’s 1.0L engine came in to being.

Kia is slowly rolling out the range topping GT Line as models receive refreshing.

Rio is only a few years in to its model life so remains up to date in safety and equipment.

2019 Kia Rio GT exterior front 3/4.

2019 Kia Rio Gt Line Exterior

GT Line added a body kit adding some extra meat along the under the doors, and 17” alloy wheels. Low profile tyres look great but make the ride slightly harder, and the cabin slightly noisier.

Headlights include a static turning light. Instead of the headlight turning as the steering wheel turns, a side light illuminates instead. This less expensive solution is equally effective, and arguably more reliable. Along with the rear combination taillights, the package looks coherent. Combination simply means there are LED lights mixed with regular type bulbs depending on the function.

Reverse camera and rear sensors are standard with the camera displaying on its 7” screen in the centre of the dash. It allows very precise parking but more importantly, should make injuries a thing of the past.

The profile is muscular and begs to get a hot hatch makeover.

Although doors open reasonably wide, there is only so much metalwork to work with in such a small hatchback. An intergraded spoiler has been designed in the to top of the rear hatch which also helps keep a bit of the hot summer sun out.

It is handsome enough to make its owner proud without holding wallets to ransom.

As well made as it is, you’re left in no doubt that you are looking at an entry level car. 

2019 Kia Rio GT interior.

2019 Kia Rio Gt Line Interior

GT Line is the range-topper, and has a couple of bespoke additions to give the cabin a touch of exclusivity.

Up front, carbon fibre look dash inserts look suitably serious. It makes a statement, as do the  sports seat fabrics. They look good. and are comfortable with firm support. Fabric has the feel of a quick-dry gym shirt. I prefer it to full-leather burns you on a hot summer day.

There is a ton of places to keep your bits and bobs.

Clever storage includes cup holders and cubby holes in the centre console, and well-designed bottle holders and stowage bins in the doors. There are places for maps, and bins in the doors for the detritus we gather, no matter how hard we try not to. The centre stack has a shelf for your phone, with a further bin below on the console proper.

Space in the front is excellent with a steering wheel adjustable for reach and tilt.

2019 Kia Rio GT

The rear is snug of there are 4 tall adults on board. Rear seats includes 2 ISOFIX points. With the seat set for me, my knees were right up against the front seat, so back seats are probably best for shorter passengers.

Air conditioning is manual, as is the cruise control. Both work extremely well.

Kia’s always take a lot of care getting the ergonomics right. It is something you never notice unless it is wrong. Controls are within easy reach, made even easier with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and the brilliant voice control which comes with it. Instruments are clear and easy to read. In short, the cabin is well designed and efficient.

Keeping in mind Rio is built to a price, materials have a corresponding touch to them. There is a 7 year warranty so they must be confident everything will last.

2019 Kia Rio GT

Boot space is ample already, but 60/40 folding seats make it even better. Like all hatches, there is a parcel cover which also aids in keeping a bit of the noise out. The space-saver spare is under the flimsy cargo hold floor. There is a lot of wasted space, and a missed opportunity to give the owners even more room by lowering the floor. They might even have considered a double floor as in the Citroen C3 Aircross. There is a lot of bare metal and I can’t help but feel a sound deadening spray might have made a power of difference.

Generally, the cabin feels airy, snug and cosy, but again, you’re in no doubt as to the humble origins and entry level credentials. Plastics feel hard in places. Despite that, cabin technology is right up to date

2017 Kia Rio audio system supports Andiod Auto and Apple Carplay

2019 Kia Rio Gt Line Features/Technology

Kia is known for shoving as much stuff in as they possibly can.

Front and centre is the 7” tablet with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. It is flanked by quick access buttons to get to features fast. A STAR button can be programmed for a favourite feature such as radio station or CarPlay access.

Steering wheel buttons are backlit, and include a voice control.

Some say the 7 year warranty/capped price service/roadside assist isn’t a feature, but a benefit. I say, it it a feature I couldn’t live without.

Additionally, GT Line has AEB and active lane monitoring. Active steering can feel intrusive, but Kia has managed to make it useful without being annoying.

The doors lock themselves to prevent hijacking, and this is something you’ll feel secure with when you’re out alone at night. How many times have you seen someone trying to jump in to a car in traffic on those news broadcasts? They unlock again in park, or when the driver opens a door. As with most convenience features, it can be programmed on or off.

There are dusk sensing lights, but wipers are limited to interment function only. Some drivers prefer this to a fully automatic setup.

Air conditioning is manual, with a single zone. It is simple and straight forward, and very effective.

2019-Kia-Rio-GT-Line 9

2019 Kia Rio Gt Line Engine and Drivetrain

A 1.0L 3 cylinder turbo petrol engine runs on regular unleaded, with a combined economy of 5.4L/100k. It is as low as 5.0L/100k on the open road which rises to 6.2L/100k around town. Like most small engines, this 3 cylinder needs to be worked hard. Our fuel usage was closer to 10L/100k. It begs to be taken by the scruff of the neck and thrown about.

Kia uses its in-house designed 7 speed DCT (dual clutch transmission) automatic to get the 88kw/172Nk to the front wheels.

2019 Kia Rio GT exterior front driving.

2019 Kia Rio Gt Line Driving Experience

Everything about Rio screams economy.

There is a strange raspy tone thanks to the 3 cylinder engine’s firing order. It’s strangely sporty, but not sporty enough for Kia to publish a 0-100kph figure.

The direct injection 3-pot feels leisurely as a city car should. There is enough power to be nippy but overtaking needs thought and planning.

I particularly like the DCT automatic. The quick shifts are keen to change up as fast as it can, and equally imble when it comes to kicking down. It is usually in the right gear and is best left to finding it’s own level. Human intervention is not required. It is a very clever unit.

It’s worth noting the base model Rio has a 4 speed automatic, while the mid-range Sport gets a 6 speed automatic. Only the GT Line gets the turbo 3-cylinder and 7 speed DCT.

Steering and suspension have had the laying-on of hands by Graeme Gambold. He is Kia’s Australian performance and handling tuner. He makes nips here, and tucks there, to get as much as possible out of cars bound for the local market. You might be surprised at the difference between cars tuned for local conditions, and those in the USA or Europe.

Despite Rio’s humble claims, it is still fun in corners. Steering hasn’t got a lot of feel, but it is horses-for-courses. Rio isn’t a sports car. You might still enjoy throwing it into corners with its agile handling and grip.  Both are decent enough to put a smile on your face.

We kept our duties to inner-city tasks only. Normally we’d do the national park with its twists and turns, but Rio is likely to be a second car. Some buyers might have an SUV, or convertible, or cantankerous classic car that won’t do for commutes. They are best kept for weekends.

An airport run and some food shopping were dispatched with ease.

When it came to parking, the tiny Rio got in to tight spaces easily with a reversing camera and loads of sensors. You have to be blindfolded to hit something going backwards. Although there is no automated parking assistance, it isn’t a feature you’d miss.

I parked in a particularly small space. As I got out, a young Brit gave me the thumbs up and said, “get in there”. I assume that’s a good thing.

Brief stints on a tollway showed Rio was reasonably comfortable on the open road, but there isn’t quite the performance to make a long road trip pleasurable. You could manage it with just 2 on board, but you might find Cerato better for distance driving.

Rio is a basic, fun little car, and I enjoyed it a lot.

2019 Kia Rio Gt Line Coupe Safety

Rio received a 5 Star ANCAP rating in 2017.

GT Line standard features include:

  • Lane keep assist
  • Reverse sensors
  • Reversing camera
  • AEB
  • Forward collision warning
  • Hill start assist
  • Driver attention alert
  • Stability control
  • 6 airbags
  • Impact sensing door unlocking
  • 3 child restraint and 2 ISOfix points
  • Side impact beams
  • Childproof rear locks

2019 Kia Rio Gt Line Fit for Purpose

Rio is a small entry level car built to a price. There is enough for four adults and their gear as long as everyone packs light. Rio is perfect as a second car or for someone who is downsizing. Perhaps you’d prefer travelling overseas to having huge amounts of cash sitting in the garage.

2019 Kia Rio Gt Line Summary

Kia Rio GT Line finds a sweet spot between price and practicality.

It is a smart choice especially when the 7 year warranty provides much in the way of peace of mind.

Rio is made in the Sohari plant alongside my favourite Kia, the Stinger.

I rate Rio at 8/10.

2019 Kia Rio GT exterior rear 3/4.

Also look at:

Good Bits:

  • price
  • equipment and safety features
  • smooth DCT automatic

Not so Good Bits:

  • some cheap plastics
  • no smart entry/start
  • road noise

2019 Kia Rio Gt Line Details

  • Model Price $22,900 driveaway*
  • Engine 1.0L 3 cylinder Petrol
  • Drivetrain 7sppeed DCT, Front wheel drive
  • Power 88kw @ 6,300rpm
  • Torque 172Nm @ 1,500 – 4,000 rpm
  • Safety 5 star (ANCAP tested 2017)
  • CO2 125g/k
  • Economy 5.4L/100k
  • Servicing 7 year ca[[ed price
  • 0-100KMH not published
  • Top Speed not published
  • Warranty 7 Yrs. / Unlimited km – 7 yr Roadside Assist

*driveaway–includes GST, LCT, statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. Does not include price of any options.

  • Rating


Rio is a small entry level car built to a price. There is enough for four adults and their gear as long as everyone packs light. Rio is perfect as a second car or for someone who is downsizing. Perhaps you’d prefer travelling overseas to having huge amounts of cash sitting in the garage.

About Alan Zurvas 108 Articles
Alan’s interest in cars began in his early teens and has been a member of several car clubs having owned a number of classic cars himself. He has a background in the corporate sector and has reviewed everything from restaurants to theatre and accommodation before settling on motoring. Alan is the founder of Gay Car Boys and is a contributor to AnyAuto