While the Rio was not designed to turn heads, it wasn’t a an ugly car either. It was a good choice for people with a low budget and in need of a small city car for daily use. The Rio had a great fuel consumption and offered a stellar warranty.
The Rio was available in a sedan or a 4-door hatchback. The sedan came with 3 trim levels, the base, the LX and the SX.
The base sedan offered nothing more than 14-inch steel wheels and a 4-speaker stereo with CD and MP3 player.
The LX trim added air-conditioning, power steering, foldable rear seats and an AUX jack.
The top of the range, the SX added 15-inch alloy wheels, a leather wrapped steering wheels and new fabric upholstery.
While it’s true that it was a bit unusual to have a base model without air conditioning for 2009, we must remember that it was one of the cheapest cars available on the market.
Stand-alone features included keyless entry, tweeter speakers and the 16-inch alloys exclusively available for the SX trim level.
The Rio was equipped with the only engine available, a 1.6-liter developing 110 hp. It could be mated with a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission - excluding the base trim level that only came with the manual gearbox.
Safety wise, front and side airbags along with side curtain airbags were standard. Antilock disc brakes were available for the higher trims.
While the Rio scored 4 stars out of 5 for the driver and the passenger protection, the side-impact test gave the small sedan a poor score.