Kia Rio vs Kia Soul

Funky vs Athletic Kia Choices for Teens

Disclosure: We were loaned a 2013 Kia Rio SX and 2013 Kia Soul to test drive with our teens on board. Regardless, all opinions are 100% my own.

Do you have teenagers? Boys or girls? I have one of each. My son just turned 16 and my daughter, our oldest, will be 18 in a few months. Oh! Let me tell you… teaching her to drive was an experience for us all. Princess used to get upset when her big sister drove because she said she did not like being a milkshake. Yes, it was that bad. Fortunately, her driving has smoothed out… some.

Kia Choices for Teens

Looking at purchasing a car for teenagers is a whole new world. If I was concerned about safety before, I step it up while thinking of my children… alone… inside. My mom side wants to buy the biggest tank I can find to make sure they are protected. But, practicality is also a trait I favor. Therefore, we took a look at Kia choices for teens. Two vehicles in particular: the 2013 Kia Rio SX and 2013 Kia Soul!.

Kia Rio vs Kia Soul

2013 Kia Rio SX vs 2013 Kia Soul!

If your teenagers are like mine, they think they need control of the radio in the car. And, as along as I am not in the car with them, that works out well. So, of course one of the features they check out first is the audio system.

Rio SX: 

  • AM/FM/CD/MP3/SiriusXM (with optional subscriptionRio audio system
  • 4 speakers with A-Pillar-Mounted Tweeters
  • USB/Auxiliary Input Jack


  • AM/FM/CD/MP3/SiriusXM (with optional subscription) with 4 speakers
  • Infinity® Audio System with Center Speaker, Subwoofer, External Amplifier and Speaker Lights
  • Tweeter Speakers
  • USB/Auxiliary Input JackSoul USB

If you have seen the popular Kia Soul commercial with the hamsters, you may know that the Soul was made for music. It won this part of the comparison with all of the kids. The fact that the speakers will pulsate to the beat of the music is a fun feature.

Soul music mood

Next, the exterior design is going to play a big part. They want to look cool as they are driving down the road. What if their friends see them?! The Soul has a more funky feel to it, while the Rio seems to be more athletic in stature. These are standard exterior features on both:

Rio SX: 

  • 17″ Tires with Alloy Wheels
  • Sport-Tuned Suspension
  • Black Mesh Radiator Grille with Chrome Surround
  • Front LED Accent Lights Kia Rio exterior
  • Dual Exhaust Tips
  • Chrome Bumper Air Intake


  • 18″ Tires with Alloy Wheels
  • Chrome Accented Grille
  • Projection Headlights Kia Soul facia
  • LED Positioning Lights
  • Black Body-Side Moldings

I must admit, the Rio and Soul are both great looking vehicles. It really came down to personal preference on the exterior. Whereas half of my kids liked the funky-box shape of the Soul, the others preferred the sporty look of the Rio.

2013 Kia Rio

And perhaps it is just my teens, but having a job has taught them the value of a dollar. That means the price of gas means something to them and they were actually concerned about the fuel economy of the vehicles. Yes, that makes for a proud parenting moment.

Rio SX:

  • Estimated MPG (City/Highway): 28/36
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 11.4 gallonsRio fuel economy


  • Estimated MPG (City/Highway): 23/28
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 12.7 gallonsKia Soul fuel economy

So, whereas the Soul has a bigger tank, the subcompact Rio offers more MPG in both the city and highway settings. And they both are built for more power with less fuel.

Furthermore, as a mom, I still come back to safety first. Will my child be safe driving this car?

Rio SX:

  • Height Adjustable Front Seat-Belt AnchorsRio airbag


  • Front Active Headrests
  • Impact Absorbing Steering Column Impact Absorbing Steering Column

Not to mention, standard features in both cars that include dual front advanced airbags, dual front seat-mounted airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, side impact door beams, and front and rear crumples zones… along with a host of other safety features. In actuality, both vehicles are pretty comparable in this area, although I may lean more towards the Soul. The color may have been an influencer in this one though… the Alien green was fun!

2013 Kia Soul

Finally, the all important, “How much does it cost?


  • The base model Rio starts at $13,600 and goes up to $17,700 for the SX trim


  • The base model Soul starts at $14,400 and goes up to $19,900 for the Soul! trim

Which Kia do you think your teen would choose? Would you choose the same one for them?

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