2002 Kia Rio from North America


I feel like a total sucker


In 2002 I bought a Kia Rio from the dealer with approximately 18,000 miles on it. Its history was explained as a repossession for non-payment, and I thought I was obtaining a good deal---a reliable car---for $8000. My need was merely to cover the 20-mile round trip between my home and where I work.

The car is a disaster. Among the recurrent problems is stalling and reluctance to start. This is experienced almost weekly. At about 25,000 miles, while traveling down a busy multi-lane highway, the car stalled abruptly, and would not re-start. I had to have it towed to a dealership. (Kia did cover that cost, but just to get home, and to return to the dealership after the repair I had to walk with my highly distressed wife to a car rental agency from the dealership, and rent a car for about $200.

Despite being "fully covered" by the warranty, I wound up paying about $200 for parts (electrical components) that turned out not to be covered. The problem was explained as a damaged timing belt, which was a little surprising at low mileage, and left me a little unfortable with a significant out-of-pocket cost for non-covered electrical components. Thus, the fiasco wound up costing $400 plus two return trips to the dealer.

The repair took a few days, and as I drove out of the dealership, the "check engine" light came on 100 yards from the dealership. That led to another multi-day "repair" where no clear explanation for the problem ever emerged. (The mechanic, who seemed genuinely embarrassed, personally arranged a loaner this time.) Since that time, the "check engine" light has come on repeatedly, and is on right now. There seems to be no obvious fix. The overdrive light comes on inexplicably too. The car continues to stall and is frequently reluctant to start, often conking out shortly after starting.

An additional "minor" irritation is that it whistles loudly at freeway speeds, and the front end seems prone to go out of alignment too readily.

The folks at the dealership are pleasant enough, but they are clearly in over their heads. they seem to have a prescribed protocol, and simply are unable to solve what are deep-seated fundamental problems with the car.

General Comments:

This is the worst car I've ever owned. (And I Pinto in the 70s)

I do not make much money, and have a job where I need reliable transportation that would not present me with surprise costs. To match those circumstances I was attracted to what seemed like a simple no-frills car with a strong warranty.

The warranty is "leaky." The lost work time, aggravation, dangers, risk of being stranded, mysterious warning lights with no clear outcomes, whistling, and constant problems make the attractive-sounding warranty misleading. This car has 38,000 miles on it and is already falling apart, and has been more trouble than you might expect from a car with four times as many miles.

I'd sell the car immediately, but it has no re-sale, and I owe a good bit on it still.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th April, 2004

4th May 2004, 08:46

Man, I feel so sorry for people who have bought these cars, it is especially sad for people who aren't overly well off and probably don't know a lot about cars. A friend of mine recently told me he and his girlfriend were buying a Rio-I warned him not to and referred him to this website. Despite my warning (I know a thing or two about cars) and having looked at this website, they went ahead and bought it. Last week I banged into him and he said "you told me so",the car has been one big ball of problems, BOTH headlights have blown (together) at least 5 times, which is fine during the day-but not so terrific when you are on the highway at night! Anyway, my advice to anyone buying these is: if you want a cheap, reliable vehicle, for a few extra bucks you can get a Toyota Echo. These cars are Korean made -by Hyundai-who after 20 years of making cars still can't make a good one!

2002 Kia Rio 4 cylinder from North America




I have had 3 transmissions put in this car. The first one started shifting into neutral and back into drive randomly as I was driving it. I also had to put it into 2nd gear and push it back up into drive or else it would stay in neutral! The dealership told me this was because corrosion fell into the transmission. The second time I was missing a gear and they tried 4 times to fix it. All were unsuccessful. I filed for the lemon law after that. They put another transmission thinking that would fix the problem... it did. For a week. Now I have 1st and 2nd gears. That's it. No reverse...nothing. It's currently sitting in my yard waiting for our hearing date where it will be towed away as it is no longer road-worthy.

Another thing that is wrong with my car is the odometer. It says 2500 miles on it. 2 months ago it said 20000. The dealership that was supposed to be fixing my car rolled it back! I have informed my state's department of motor vehicles who are now going after the dealership since this is VERY illegal.

The weatherstripping came off the passenger side door.

The carpeting came up on the passenger side which isn't used too much.

The windshield wiper motor broke.

The driver's side windshield wiper stopped working. The passenger side one worked though. This was due to a stripped screw in the wiper arm courtesy of the factory.

After roughly 20000 miles the brakes were down to the metal.

General Comments:

The engine is extremely loud when it's accelerating quickly.

The back end of it is seriously ugly.

I hate it.

It's very undependable. A bike would be a better choice.

Please don't ever buy a KIA!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 5th March, 2004