2006 Kia Rio Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Kia Rio

Kia Rio Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.6 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 110 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 27/32 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Kia Rio

  • Pleasant to drive, loaded with features and comfortable to boot, the 2006 Rio and Rio5 may be the smallest Kia cars of the lineup, but they're two of the biggest bargains.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Ample acceleration around town, smooth ride, stable handling, attractive interior, standard side curtain airbags, generous warranty.

  • Cons

    Cruise control isn't available, a few plastics look cheap, front seats not comfortable for some.

  • What's New for 2006

    Completely redesigned, the 2006 Kia Rio sedan and Rio5 hatchback now share a platform with Hyundai's Accent. Roomier and more refined,…

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (59 total reviews)

Killed one, going on another!

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Rio 5 SX 4dr Wagon (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

I had a used 2006 Rio5 for a short bit before getting t-boned in a winter storm. The offender was a dodge caravan making an illegal left turn. The Rio took the hit well, with little damage to me...but the car was a write-off. After much searching for a new car, I ended up buying the exact same model. The Rio5 is great on gas, the 5sp is peppy enough to be fun. The spare tire cover is crap, I recommend buying a piece of plywood to cover it. The balljoints in the 3 kia rio5's that I have driven have all needed replacing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Hazard switch location

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Rio LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 4A)

Just bought this vehicle with 71,000 miles. So far I really like it. Just one complaint. Hopefully its been moved since. I seriously dislike that each time I reach to change the volume of the stereo, may hand hits that emergency flasher button making me check that I didn't accidently turn them on.

Better than expected

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Rio LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

Bought second hand for my wife and she loves it, I sorta like it. Has heated front seats which was surprising for a car like a rio. Gas mileage is excellent performance is adequate and comfort is adequate also. I was expecting this car to be horrible but she loved it so we got it. It has 60,000kms on it now with only 2 problems, spark plugs died at 40,000km no big deal, but timing belt slipped around the same time and had to be replaced for $800 not under warranty! Metal body is poor quality every stone chip begins rusting immediately unlike domestic galvanized cars. Overall I would buy again(for the wife).

Gas Mileage


  • 27
  • cty
  • 32
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2006 Kia Rio Review

What's New for 2006

Completely redesigned, the 2006 Kia Rio sedan and Rio5 hatchback now share a platform with Hyundai's Accent. Roomier and more refined, the new Rio's equipment list is topped by a spunky 110-hp engine and standard side curtain airbags.


Priced to go after buyers with minimal budgets, the original Kia Rio sold from 2001 to 2005 had little going for it other than its big warranty. It could get you from home to work all right, but between its unrefined road manners and lack of amenities, it was basic transportation and nothing else. However, with high fuel prices likely here to stay, the bottom end of the car market is getting more attention from consumers and manufacturers alike. Kia's engineers and designers evidently took a good look at the feature-laden Scion xA while they were redesigning the Rio. Although the 2006 Kia Rio may not have the Scion's fashion sense, it's pleasant to drive, loaded with features and comfortable to boot.

For 2006, Kia is offering the Rio sedan in base and LX trim levels, along with a Rio5 hatchback in a single SX trim. With no air conditioning and skinny 14-inch tires, the base sedan is still very much a budget ride. Yet, you do get an attractive cloth interior in beige or gray, side-impact airbags for front occupants and side curtain airbags for front and rear occupants for about $11,000. Kia expects most buyers to step up to the LX sedan, which for just under $13,000 comes with modern-day essentials like A/C, a CD stereo, power steering, a 60/40-split folding rear seat and a tilt steering wheel. Priced a few hundred dollars above the least expensive Spectra, the Kia Rio5 SX hatchback is sharper-looking than the Rio sedan (and certainly the outgoing Rio Cinco wagon), thanks to its neatly finished tail and standard 15-inch alloy wheels.

Quickness is not within a lower-end economy car's grasp, but energized by a 30-pound weight loss and a new 110-hp, 1.6-liter inline four with variable intake valve timing, the 2006 Kia Rio gets around as easily as any of its peers. As before, suspension consists of a simple arrangement of struts in front and a semi-independent torsion bar with coil springs in back, but Kia engineers evidently took more care when tuning it, because it's now capable of managing body movement and road irregularities. Handling around corners is sure and steady. Like other Kia cars, the new Rio and Rio5 offer excellent value. And unlike the old Rio, they're affordable cars you may actually grow to like.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The Kia Rio sedan comes in base and LX trims, while the five-door Rio5 hatchback is available in a single SX trim. With no air conditioning and skinny 175/70R14 tires, the base sedan is a budget ride. Yet, you do get an attractive cloth interior in beige or gray, two-way driver-seat height adjustment, a tachometer and a full complement of side airbags. The well-equipped LX sedan provides A/C, a four-speaker CD stereo, power steering, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a tilt steering wheel and meatier 185/65R14 tires. The Rio5 SX hatchback adds 15-inch alloy wheels, metallic interior trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and metal-trimmed pedals. LX sedan and Rio5 hatch buyers can get the optional Power Package, which provides power windows, mirrors and locks; keyless entry; and tweeter speakers.

Powertrains and Performance

Energized by a new 1.6-liter inline four with variable intake valve timing, the 2006 Kia Rio gets around as easily as any of its peers. Horsepower comes in a 110, while torque rates 107 lb-ft. A five-speed manual transmission is mandatory on the base sedan, but the LX sedan and Rio5 hatchback can be had with either the manual or a four-speed automatic. Mileage ratings are much higher than the old Rio's -- 32 city, 35 highway with the manual and 29/38 with the automatic.


All Rios come standard with side-impact airbags for front occupants, full-length side curtain airbags and three-point belts in all seating positions. The LX sedan and Rio5 hatchback also come with adjustable rear headrests. ABS is optional on the LX sedan and Rio5, and ordering it replaces the standard front discs/rear drums with four-wheel disc brakes. In NHTSA frontal-impact crash testing, the Kia Rio scored four (out of a possible five stars) for driver protection and five stars for passenger protection. In the side-impact test, the vehicle earned three stars for both front and rear occupants.

Interior Design and Special Features

Dressed in beige, the Rio's cockpit has an airy, optimistic feel so often lacking in this price bracket. Interior materials quality is above-average, but a few of the plastics aren't up to the xA's level. The cloth upholstery is attractive and breathes well in warm weather, and the control layout is as straightforward as they come. Seat comfort is excellent, as the well-shaped front chairs offer a generous range of seat-track travel. In back, headroom is a bit tight for 6-footers, but legroom is fully adequate and the tall bench provides good thigh support.

Driving Impressions

The 1.6-liter provides decent low-end pull and the manual transmission version offers enough thrust to merge into highway traffic with ease, although the engine gets noisy at higher rpm. Shifting the manual gearbox is enjoyable, thanks to the distinct gates and smooth clutch. Acceleration is almost as good with the automatic (which serves up smooth upshifts and on-time downshifts), though freeway merging takes some planning. The Rio's ride is smooth and stable, as the suspension does a fine job of soaking up road irregularities, and even at 75 mph, the ride is hushed. Pushed through corners, the Kia Rio responds with predictable body roll and unexpectedly crisp steering.

Talk About The 2006 Rio

2006 Kia Rio Discussions See all Started By

Spy Pictures 2006 Kia Rio:...

Very occasionally, as in 6-7 times in 18 months our 2006 Kia Rio 5 (manual trans) has experienced a sudden 2-3 second loss in engine power. It feels like the ignition is suddenly cut and the car dece...

@cynthia said: I bought a used 2006 rio about 3 months ago. It has less than 50000 miles.The battery has drained on me 2 times. The first time I was at home so it wasn't a big deal. I have 24hour ro...


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