I bought my Rio from its second owner. The car had been wrecked by the first owner at around 12,000 miles and was subsequently rebuilt. The second owner took good care of the Rio. The interior was like new when I bought it at 52,000 miles and the car had been repainted '57 Corvette red. The original wheels were warped and the tires were horribly out of round, causing the car to vibrate at around 45mph, so I bought a specialty set of wheels and new tires that set me back about $1000. Despite most Rios' homely look, mine actually looks pretty sporty. There are several things I like about the Rio. It's a simple car. I especially like the fact that the windows and door locks are manually operated. The front seats, while not cushy, are comfortable and there is adequate room for two full size adults in the front seats. The back seats are strictly for kids. Ours are grown, so the rear seat is not a problem. Whoever designed the interior of the Rio did a good job. The controls and switches are well situated ergonomically. There's even a right armrest that folds down for the driver that makes driving on longer trips more comfortable. Steering is light and responsive. It's like driving a go cart. Visibility is very good. The 1500cc engine and automatic transmission are adequate for around town driving but are a little underpowered for trips in mountainous terrain. You'll get up the slopes, but you won't pass many people. Fuel economy with the automatic transmission is good but not spectacular. I've averaged around 32mpg in highway driving and 22mpg around town. I use only straight unleaded gas (no alcohol) in my car (Yes, it's still available if you look for it.). The only maintenance the Rio has needed since I bought it was the replacement of a rear shock absorber and, of course, periodic oil/air/filter changes. Since we use the Rio as our around town car, we don't put a lot of miles on it. The absence of cruise control is the main reason we don't use it on long trips. Currently, we have about 75,000 miles on our car. It stills looks showroom new inside and out when it has been cleaned up. We love our 2002 Rio. June 2017 - We still have our 2002 Kia Rio and use it as a town car and for short trips. Still love it. Thinking of giving it to my grandson who will get his learner permit to drive next month. Hate to part with it, but...hey!...he's my grandson and that's what granddads do. Small, economical, easy to drive...the Rio is an excellent car for new drivers. December 2017 - We're still driving our Rio daily. I had thought about giving it to our grandson when he turns 16 in July but he's a growing boy. At 6'01", 300 pounds, he's a mite big for the Kia so we'll keep it as our old timer's transportation. The boy is going to need a truck...a big truck.
i just wanted to let everyone know what happened to me so it won't happen to you. i bought this car in 2007 with 20,000 miles for $4000. i know it's horrible but i only got maybe 3 or 4 oil changes. the car has 107,000 miles now. but this car just kept on going. i hit a wall on the highway goin about 50 and i just drove it away. never ever had a problem until 80,000 miles needed new wheel bearings. almost $500. not too bad. kept on going til pulling into my driveway one day it just dies! i knew it was the end because the car had been so good to me it was gonna end its life pulling into the driveway. got it towed to the mechanic and yup, the timing chain broke. broke the engine, $2500 to fix.
Bought the car when it had 10 K miles, one year old, one previous driver. Since then have put 140K miles on it, with fewer problems than any other car I have ever driven. Replaced timing belt at 60 K and 120K. Has no AC (bought it in PA). 5 sp manual transmission. Fun to drive, plenty of acceleration in 1st and 2nd. Manual everything (windows, etc. ) means that nothing ever breaks, and no little things need repair. Incredible highway mileage, even at 65-70 mph (40-43 mpg). Had to replace gasket for trunk lid. Not a car for 4 large adults - better for 2 adults, 2 kids in back seat. Great value for the money I paid. Am expecting to put another 100 K miles on it.
Like the title says, I love my Kia Rio because it's cheap. Where can you purchase a brand new car for $8,000 with a 10 year/100,000 miles warranty except Kia? I also purchased the 7 year/100,000 bumper-to-bumper warranty. Haven't had a chance to use it because the car is like the Eveready Energizer bunny. It has the pep of the Pontiac Solstice or Saturn Sky. It's also fun to drive and a miser with gas. I fill up every two to three weeks at $25. Can't beat that with a stick. I must say the car is not put together with the best and strongest materials, but what do you expect for $8,000. I've noticed that the price has gone up and you can't get the great warranty anymore.
It's not often you can get a 4-year-old with only 35K miles for $5K, but that was the case with this one. The fuel efficiency has been great, and it gets around the small confines of the city very well. Parallel parking is a breeze, and the manual transmission makes it fun to drive in spite of a bit of a lack of power. Actually, driving it at about 5-6000 RPM can generate decent power for the small engine, but I drive more easily for gas mileage close to 35 MPG. I was very surprised by the amount of space. Front and back seat passengers will not be cramped, and the trunk is surprisingly roomy. For the low price and dependability, along with the overall good design, it's a bargain.