2003 Kia Rio LS 1.2 litre from North America


This car has served me well, and I have enjoyed having it


Replaced factory tires at 60000 kms, which were good for 50000.

Replaced timing belt at 98000kms as required before the 100000km warranty expired. Was reminded by dealership to get it done. Cost just over $400.00 Canadian.

Replaced front brakes at 110000kms.

Leaks brake fluid very badly. Shop (not dealership) that did the brakes does not know where the leak is coming from.

Have a rubbing, squeaky noise in the driver's front wheel now. Have to get it looked at. Am afraid this is going to cost a small fortune.

A/C ceased and broke the belt just over a year ago. There was a smell of rubber and a rubbing noise, and then the A/C didn't work. Shop did a bypass with the belt, as replacement is too expensive now without a warranty.

Heater dial button replaced before 100000kms, and then again at 120000kms. Reason for replacement was that I had to manually hold the button in so that the heater would blow. Definitely a problem in winter.

Driver's wiper does not seem to wipe as good as it should. Tends to leave unwiped spots. Arm just broke off one night while driving in light snow fall. Have had to replace the driver's arm twice because of breakage. Now have Flex blades, but drivers still does not wipe as good as expected.

General Comments:

As they say, when the warranty runs out, then things start to go. I will have had this car for 10 years in Feb/13.

After reading all the negative reviews, I must have the only good Rio. Anything that goes wrong now is expected considering the age of the car...

The car handles good, is comfortable and good on gas.

Main dislike is the lack of leg room in the back. Good for kids, but not much room for adults.

Interior wear has stood up. No complaints. My grand kids have been hard on the seat coverings. Not even a tear yet.

Have found that the A/C was very hard on the motor. Made the motor run very hard, and caused the car to have slow get up and go at intersections and stop signs.

Heater could be better quality, as it takes too long to warm up car in -30 C. weather.

Has been very good winter driving car.

The car has been used as a family car until my daughters got their own vehicles. We liked this Kia so much that they have each gotten their own Kias. One has a 2005 Magentis, and the other a 2009 Spectra. They are happy with their purchases.

Has been good on the many 1200km or so trips it has been on.

Headlights have been replaced once in all that time.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th August, 2012

2003 Kia Rio RS from North America


My perfect dream car, for now at least!


Timing belt was replaced before it became an issue.

Alternator belt blew this winter. It made a squeaking noise, and then failed. It was a simple fix, though. Roughly 185000 km.

The radiator developed a crack, but that was fixed without any damage to any other parts. Roughly 170000 km.

Gas tank became corroded and is currently being replaced with a used tank from Texas (no salt on the roads!). Roughly 190000 km - current.

Exhaust flex joint broke, but another one was kicking around, another easy fix. Car was very noisy, especially on acceleration. Roughly 200000 km.

General Comments:

This car is my dream. Although it has issues (hey, it's about 10 years old), it is so consistent. As long as I'm vigilant, there's no issue. My stepfather is a mechanic at Kia, so most problems are solved after-hours with relative ease (and a bottle of rum for him for a job well done!).

Except for the exhaust issue, the car is purring. Very smooth ride, and great pickup for a cheap, old car.

Most of the options are manual (windows, locks, etc.), so there is little in that sense that can go wrong.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th July, 2012

18th Aug 2012, 09:10

A rusty 10 year old Kia Rio is your "dream car"?