2004 Kia Rio LS 1.5


Cheap and reliable.. Shame about the poor after sales service


* Within 2 weeks of owning the car, KIA was recalling them to have the fuel filter or pump (or something like that) replaced as faulty.

I got this replaced at the 1st scheduled service (I think 15,000k).

Prior to this I had a couple of problems starting the car when facing up a hill & running low on fuel. This ceased once the above mentioned part was replaced.

* At 35,000k's the car would make a thump noise from near the front L.H.S wheel. Something was tightened on the next scheduled service. Problem fixed with no dramas.

* At approximately 65,000k's, the car would pop out of reverse. This was looked at at the next scheduled service. This was the last scheduled service within warranty, & we were assured the problem would be covered by the warranty. By this time Subaru had taken over the KIA dealers servicing for some reason. After being assured the problem was fixed, the car successfully reversing out of the service yard. The reverse continued to pop out. One staff member mentioned it was a known problem with the Rio's gearbox (the bush nut's were wearing away prematurely & not keeping the gear in reverse). Was told the part would be available within days & they'd call. No calls whatsoever though. After calling them every couple of days & being told a different story each time. Then had to speak to the arrogant manager of Subaru (KIA) servicing. Rude as hell & completely unhelpful. He implied it wouldn't be covered by the warranty, but soon backed down once set straight there.

After 1.5 weeks of them having the car (initially quoted 2 days), we finally got it back today. So far the reverse is behaving.

So aside from having the cost of a rental car for 1.5 weeks (at $75 per day). We've not had to pay money for these problems to be fixed. With the exception of the latest problem (which had Subaru servicing correctly fixed the 1st time), all were fixed efficiently by the KIA servicing department.

# The warranty had just run out on the Rio. My partner then bought it from me. I was planning on potentially buying a KIA Cerato Hatch. This latest drama put me off buying a new KIA for now though. I settled on a nice 2nd hand car instead.

My advice to any prospective KIA owner would be to buy the car from a dealer that doesn't sell too many other brands. The dealer I bought the Rio from, also sold Subaru, Holden, Mitsubishi, Saab & probably more.

Buy from a KIA dealer that sells no more than 1 other brand to avoid being treated like a 2nd class citizen from the after sales service department. We ended up copping attitude because it was the Subaru department that took over the servicing.

I'd never touch a Subaru out of principle after all this too.

General Comments:

The car has generally been reliable. It's started 1st go every go & has never broken down.

It's extremely fuel efficient & cheap to service.

The car has a nice engine, accelerates well. Has plenty of power for the car's size.

The cars handling is below par though. Not a good car for accelerating through corners.

The worst thing about driving the Rio is the awful gearbox. Quite jumpy when changing gears. I can still get into almost any other car & change the gears smoother than the Rio. You do get used to it, it's only once driving another car that you realise how poor the gear-change in the Rio is.

Otherwise it's a nice, light, generally reliable zippy car that accelerates well through all gears.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 28th August, 2007

2004 Kia Rio 1.5 DOHC


Best value for money small car!!


Some of the plastic around the buckle on the passengers seat belt has been worn away, not a safety issue and only noticeable if you look for it.

General Comments:

I purchased this car with some modifications from the dealer, 17" rims to replace the 13" rims and 1 1/4 inch lower (new springs). Even with the window tinting etc. the price was still under A$20,000!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th July, 2004