Went looking for basic winter transportation at a low cost and the Kia fills the bill in most areas. Korean cars are rumored to be last-generation Japanese cars that are restyled by Italian designers. This may or may not be true, but the Rio feels like some Hondas and Mazdas I've owned in the past, which is not a bad thing. The neat styling is what grabbed me to begin with and the hatchback is handy (can't understand why all cars don't have one). Inside, the fit and finish is good but the materials are pure econobox, which is how they keep the price so low (the dash is one huge piece of plastic; am thinking about buying seat covers to dress things up and hold wear down). The entry-level trim level means you do not get cruise control, premium wheels, navi or other upgrades -- but no compass? Come on! You do get a trip computer however. The car is quiet but the ride is average and handling is definitely not sporty. Engine makes a neat noise when starting, transmission shifts well but the horn sounds like a goose with asthma (if I keep the car for next winter, I'm replacing it). Mileage is good although extremely cold weather locally is keeping it down. My two sons can't understand why their old man, who's had Porsches, BMWs, Alfas, Triumphs, MGs, etc., would settle for a Kia. But then I remind them we've owned an Aspire and Festiva (both were Ford "captive" imports) as second cars over the years and they both went the distance. Come spring I may replace it when I buy something the top goes down on, or may just put it in the garage for next winter. The fact that it's under 8000 miles, has a year-and-a-half left on the factory warranty and cost me under 10 grand from a reputable lot means I shojld be able to drive it the next few months for almost nothing. Update -- still have the Rio a year and a half later. Only expenses have been oil changes and a set of wiper blades. I find the gear box the most interesting component. You can just leave it in drive, or switch it over the a manual mode which is a lot fun when in the mood.
These are a great little value and all a person needs for the average commute. Most of us drive from A to B for errands and transportation anyway and how can you beat a great running car with low insurance rates and a 10 year warranty to boot. The only negative thing I have to say is that Hyundai/Kia found a way to get another $150 profit by omitting a spare tire and jack so get your dealer to either include one or sell it to you at cost. They're going to try to convince you that the roadside assistance they give you makes up for it but I can tell you I have sat on the side of the road for hours waiting for these people to show and then many times they can't resolve the issue anyway.