The original Kia Rio had little going for it other than a big warranty. It was basic transportation, nothing else.
But basic transportation doesn't cut it anymore, even among the smallest and most affordable compact cars: The carefully packaged, nimble-handling Scion xA saw to that. Kia's engineers and designers wisely took a good look at the xA while they were redesigning the Rio.
Although the 2006 Kia Rio may not have the Scion's fashion sense, unlike the old Rio, it's pleasant to drive, loaded with features and comfortable to boot.
More Amenities For 2006, Kia is offering the Rio sedan in base and LX trim levels, along with a five-door 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, two-way seat-height adjustment for the driver, side-impact airbags for front occupants, and side curtain airbags for front and rear occupants for a base price of $11,110 (including a $540 destination charge). A five-speed manual transmission is mandatory on the base car, and there's now a standard tachometer so shift points aren't shots in the dark.
Kia expects most buyers to step up to the LX sedan, which for $12,985 comes with essentials like A/C, a four-speaker CD stereo, power steering, a 60/40-split folding rear seat with adjustable head restraints, tilt steering wheel adjustment and slight wider tires.
Priced a few hundred dollars above the least expensive Kia Spectra, the $14,040 Rio5 SX hatchback is sharper-looking than the Rio sedan, thanks to its neatly finished tail and standard 15-inch alloy wheels with meatier tires.
It has more cargo space, too, with 15.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats to the sedan's 11.9. Maximum capacity is 49.6 cubic feet, 5 more cubes than the old Rio Cinco, although the Cinco was 9 inches longer than the tidy Rio5. Inside the Rio5, you'll find metal-trimmed pedals and faux aluminum trim on the dash and the leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The other major benefit to choosing the LX sedan or SX hatch is the availability of options. Both can be had with a four-speed automatic transmission ($850), antilock brakes and the Power Package, which provides power windows, mirrors and locks; keyless entry; and a pair of tweeter speakers. As a bonus, ordering ABS sets you up with four-wheel disc brakes in lieu of the standard front discs/rear drums. Cruise control is the only obvious omission.
Reasonable Power and Economy Energized by a 30-pound weight loss and a new 1.6-liter inline four with variable intake valve timing, the 2006 Rio gets around as easily as any of its peers. Horsepower comes in a 110 at 6,000 rpm, while torque rates 107 pound-feet at 4,500 rpm. Low-end pull is surprisingly good, and a strong midrange allows the Rio to merge into 70-mph freeway traffic with no problems. The engine is even tempered but does get noisy at higher rpm.
We drove both a manual-shift LX sedan and an automatic Rio5 hatchback, and found the acceleration equally acceptable. Shifting the manual gearbox is actually enjoyable, thanks to the distinct gates and a clutch that couldn't be more forgiving. Meanwhile, the automatic serves up smooth upshifts and on-time downshifts.
Fred Aikins, product strategy manager for the Rio, tells us that a manual-shift sedan or hatchback should turn in a 0-to-60-mph time of 9.5 to 10 seconds. That's a respectable time for this class, but if you're looking for more speed, Kia has been working to expand aftermarket support for its lineup and plans to show off the Rio's performance potential at this year's SEMA show.
Fuel economy is another bright spot for the '06 Rio. Its EPA ratings are much higher than the last year's model — 32 mpg city/35 mpg highway with the manual and 29/38 with the automatic.
Fine Manners Now a platform mate of the Hyundai Accent, the new Rio rides on a 3.5-inch-longer wheelbase, and slightly wider front and rear tracks. The suspension still consists of struts in front and a semi-independent torsion bar with coil springs in back, but Kia engineers tuned it to better manage body movement and road irregularities. The Rio's ride is smooth and stable around town and on the highway.
We didn't get to test the cornering capability of our LX sedan with 14-inch wheels, but the Rio5 hatch with 15s (both of the cars we drove wore Hankook Optima tires) had little difficulty with tight turns. There was a fair amount of body roll, but the car settles in predictably every time and turn-in was crisper than we expected, especially in the Rio5. The steering even has a firm feel to it at speed.
Comfortable Inside Of the two interior color schemes, the beige is definitely the way to go. It gives the Rio's cockpit an airy, optimistic feel that's so often lacking in this price bracket. Interior materials quality is above average but not quite up to the Scion xA's level. Careful selection of patterns and finishes helps mask the hard plastic, but shiny dash panels detract from the otherwise buttoned-down ensemble.
The control layout is as straightforward as they come. The large audio head unit comes straight from the Spectra and offers a clear display and a separate tuning knob.
Seat comfort is excellent for a low-priced car. The well-shaped front chairs allow you to sit up high and there's a generous range of seat travel for taller drivers. An armrest is standard for the driver, but we'd trade it for a regular center console box that provides elbow support for both front occupants, along with valuable storage space.
In back, headroom is a bit tight for 6-footers, but legroom is good and there's plenty of room to slide your feet under the front chairs.
Small + Cheap = Good? It wouldn't have been enough, says Fred Aikins of Kia, to build a Rio that was merely capable of taking on the existing players — the Hyundai Accent, Chevrolet Aveo and Scion xA. Rather, it had to be ready for Toyota's Echo replacement, the 2007 Yaris, as well as all-new entries from Honda and Nissan.
After driving the 2006 Kia Rio and Rio5, we think they're ready to lead the way in this price-sensitive segment.
2006 Kia Rio Overview
The 2006 Kia Rio is offered in the following submodels: Wagon, Sedan. Available styles include LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 4A), 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M), and LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M). Rio models are available with a 1.6 l-liter gas engine, with output up to 110 hp, depending on engine type. The 2006 Rio comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic, 5-speed manual. The 2006 Rio comes with a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 10 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a used 2006 Kia Rio?
Price comparisons for used 2006 Kia Rio trim styles:
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, Virginia. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Is the 2006 Kia Rio a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2006 Kia Rio and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2006 Rio featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2006 Kia Rio? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2006 Kia Rio and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2006 Rio 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2006 Rio.
Review 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.
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
2006 kia rio LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 4A), 4-speed automatic, regular unleaded 29 combined MPG 25 city MPG/35 highway MPG
2006 kia rio 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M), 5-speed manual, regular unleaded 29 combined MPG 27 city MPG/32 highway MPG
2006 kia rio LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M), 5-speed manual, regular unleaded 29 combined MPG 27 city MPG/32 highway MPG
What options are available on the 2006 Kia Rio?
Available Kia Rio 2006 Submodel Types: Sedan, Hatchback, Wagon