I wouldn't buy another
I have some complaints with this car. My experience as a second hand RIO owner.
I bought the '01 RIO used in '02 with less than 30,000 miles for $5,000. The newest, least expensive car I could find! This car now has just over 90K on it.
My complaints: Check engine light, Air Bag warning light on intermittantly, Bad handling at speed, Surging and stalling of the engine with A/C on when stopped, Spark plug Wires, Poor fuel economy, poor fit and finnish.
I broke down and bought $200 On Board Diagnostic (OBD II) reader because of the check engine light.. Every time that I have gotten a "check Engine light" it has been due to "number X cylinder multiple misfires" See my comment on failed spark plug wires.
The Air Bag warning light comes on intermittantly... higher temps cause it to stay on, light stays off when the outside temp is below 50* F. Bumps will make it go on and off. Something to do with the electrical system. I've had it checked and reset twice. The dealership can't pinpoint the fault.
The car handles very poorly over 60 MPH. It seems squirly. I've been through 2 complete sets of tires in the time that I've owned it... The shop said it is alignment problems, and wants to know how/ where, I'm driving it to keep knocking it out of alignment, Its my daily driver, average of 60 miles a day on decent roads! Tire wear is very uneven on the front.
Sparkplug wires... I'm on my third set. They are continually cracking on the hard plastic portion where they connect to the sparkplugs, and arc out to the cylinder head... this is unusual in my experience! At $100 per set its expensive! On my last replacement, as I din't have the money or time to wait, I went to a local national auto parts store and drove the clerk crazy cheking every 4 cylinder set he had in stock, I found that 1999 Honda Civic wires, while just a little long, WILL WORK perfectly... I got them for $24... They have only been installed for 8,000 miles so the verdict is still out on those. But, if they last the average of 20,000 miles that the OEM parts last it is $24 well spent.
The surging/ stalling at stops (now UNDER RECALL) with AC/ defroster on (as the AC is on with the defroster)
I think this little car/ engine should do better that the 32 MPG That I have averaged. My '99 Civic DX hatchback averaged closer to 41 MPG.
The window and door seals are terrible. Terribe rubbers as its falling apart. Lots of wind noise. The windows must be rolled up at low speeds, or there is lots of wind noise.
My overall feeling on this car! Entry level subcompact with lots of faults! Worse than my '87 chevy Sprint that I bought a year old in '88!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 3rd October, 2004