Let me start off by saying that I do NOT own this car. I'm borrowing it from a friend who is currently vacationing in Florida for the winter, while my own vehicle is being repaired.
I have 130 mile round trip commute to and from work everyday, and so far this car hasn't failed me yet. While it may not be the most comfortable car in the world, it gets me where I need to go.
The 96 HP, 1.5L engine is a bit anemic. It's very loud at all RPM's and it struggles with hills. Around town it isn't so bad, but on the highway (which is what I drive about 95% of the time) it has a really tough time moving even this lightweight car. RPM's hover at around 3000 at 65 MPH. Speeds above 75 aren't really possible. That being said, it gets fairly decent gas mileage (averaged about 33MPG).
The interior isn't exciting. This is an absolute base model; crank windows, no power locks (no power anything really) and no radio. The seats are very hard, and the interior panels are probably the cheapest plastic I've ever seen. Fit and finish is below average even for this segment. At speeds above 50, the wind whistles through the windows something wicked. Very annoying!
As for handling, I can't really say. It's the dead of winter here in New England and there's a few feet of snow on the ground, so tossing a car around isn't exactly a wise decision. However, I have gotten to test how well the Rio does in the snow, and besides having to watch out for the wheels locking up with even the slightest touch on the brake pedal, it handles the snow very well. It went right through the frozen snowbank at the end of my driveway and through the roughly 7 inches of snow covering the ground (and my driveway is on a bit of an incline).
Overall, I would say that this isn't the worst car you could buy in the sub-compact car segment, but there are certainly better choices.