2002 Kia Rio from North America


I have a 2002 Kia Rio hatchback. I bought it in 2006, and wish I could go back in time and undo that day. It had 90,000 kms on it, and at 120,000 kms my engine seized. I didn't know it was seized, and it took the dealership over a month to figure it out.

They claimed it was my battery, then, my alternator, etc.. and so on. Of course I was over my warranty, so it cost me over 2,000 to fix.

My gas gauge stopped working 2 years ago, the car constantly stalls, with no explanation (literally, they just do not know why), my windshield arms have had to replaced every 3 months, and my clutch has had to be changed.

While this car has been the worst I have ever had, and I will never buy another one, in the last little while it has gotten me from point A to point B, without issues. I had racked up the mileage on this car, and it seems to be putting up with it so far... but I wouldn't expect anything less after all the money that had going into it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th May, 2010

2002 Kia Rio RX-V 1.5L DOHC from North America


Cheap, efficient vehicle, expensive parts, prone to electrical problems


Alternator failed around 69,000 km. Red light came on.

Front passenger window freezes shut during the winter.

Car would not start or stalled every so often, check engine light would come on, but fine when the engine was warmed up. Worse in rainy weather. Scary when it happens on the highway. Fixed.

Oil pan drain hole stripped. No one has a replacement oil pan except the dealer - $450, probably because it is a cast aluminium part.

The rear axle assembly is small and cannot take high lateral loads. Rear bearings made loud noise and had to be replaced.

Flex exhaust pipe went at 120,000 km.

General Comments:

Generally, the car starts very easily, no matter what the weather was. Except for the stalling problem that is.

The gas mileage is ~6.9L/100km in summer and ~8.9L/100km in winter.

So far the interior plastic and upholstery seems to be fine. The paint is fine except where the gas door is, there is a bit of rust.

As for the stalling, I took the car to the dealer a few times when the check engine light came on, and paid $130 each time, but they could not find anything. Even brought it when the light was on, but it did not help. The mechanic said it could be a multitude of things. Some of it made sense, e.g. ignition system, some did not seem to apply to this problem, e.g. PCV valve, but none of them addressed the fuel pump at all.

When it would not start, we noticed the fuel pump was not running. Swapped some relays in the engine compartment, it would go away for a while and come back. Eventually, after about a year, I accidentally found out that the relay labeled "main", was loose. Touching it would cause the car to shut down, with the fuel pump not working anymore.

I sprayed all the relay sockets with WD40 and the problem went away for about 6 months. I got some proper electrical contact spray and it has not done that since.

The engine is OK, but the electrical parts and other parts are small and wear easily.

Maintenance is cheaper if do your own work on your vehicle.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th May, 2010

2002 Kia Rio 1.7 from North America


Cheaply built, but a good buy for the money


Left side motor mounts broken when I bought it (used).

Lots of vibration until I had the front end aligned.

General Comments:

First of all, to all you COMPLAINERS, the Kia Rio is just about the CHEAPEST car you can buy brand new. Ever heard the saying "you get what you pay for?" Well if you want a better quality car, SPEND MORE MONEY!! I have owned over a dozen cars in my life (had ALL of them for many years), and the Kia Rio is no more or less reliable than any car its age.

The Rio IS the least expensive car I have ever had, but it gets the very BEST gas mileage, parts are cheap, it's fairly easy to work on, and has reliably gotten me up and down the mountain I live on (8000') dozens of times with no problems.

I drive a disabled person to the nearest VA hospital at least once a week, sometimes twice. The hospital is 120 miles round trip, about 3 hours total driving down, then back up the mountain. Winding, curving roads and steep elevation are easy with my Rio with its tiny engine. And my average gas mileage for the round trip (8000' elevation change) is over 25mpg.

All the complainers don't mention the Kia's exceptional gas mileage. They don't mention how cheap the tires are (cause they're so small). If they owned a Ford Expedition (like I did before the Kia) they'd be spending big bucks on EVERYTHING and they WON'T get a vehicle that is any more reliable or, in my opinion, more durable. It sucks gas like a tank, the molding on every door and window come off or have fallen off since it was 4 years old, every part including tires are incredibly expensive, it requires constant maintenance.

If you want an economical car with cheap parts, the Kia Rio is NOT a bad deal.

Stop complaining and look at all the good news you have with your Rio!!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th January, 2010