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With its lineup pared to just three configurations and a single option package, the 2019 Kia Rio is short on personalization potential. That’s a shame for buyers who might want more luxuries, such as the leather seats offered last year, but it should make finding one on a dealer lot easy.

We rate the Rio at 5 out of 10, with a point dialed back for its limited trim lineup but one point added for its extensive warranty. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The base Rio LX—a sedan-only trim level—is outfitted with the basics and not much more. A 5.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Bluetooth and a USB port, a rearview camera, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, power windows and locks, and heated exterior mirrors are the highlights. That’s not much, but the Rio LX costs about $16,200 and it includes a 5-year, 60,000-mile warranty augmented by 10-year, 100,000-mile coverage for its engine and transmission.

Stepping up to the sedan or hatchback Rio S ups the price by just $800 and is worthwhile in our eyes not just for the 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, keyless entry, cruise control, and split-folding rear seat, but also for what can be added. The Rio S can be upgraded with an $800 package that includes forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, LED headlights, and a 3.5-inch display in the instrument cluster.

That’s money well spent, and it results in a $17,800 sedan or an $18,100 hatchback.

The larger touchscreen for infotainment is worthwhile for its smartphone compatibility alone, but even its native software works well and includes smartphone app-based features such as remote start and diagnostics.

We’d like to see alloy wheels make an appearance on the Rio again. They were optional last year but were dropped for 2019. Not only do they look better than hubcaps right out of the showroom, but they also hold up better over time.

Review continues below

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