2003 Kia Rio Cinco, SW 1.8 from North America


The car is a nuisance, lemon, but good gas mileage, if you have another for when it is in the shop


Dash started rattling and squeaking right away, and still does.

Engine blown, 61000.

Warranty, dishonored.

Lights, not showing trouble.

Lights not working when something is wrong.

Back lift door, sticks, can't open.

Speed control, messed up gas release pedal.

Windows rattle.

It goes on mostly little stuff, not fixed.

General Comments:

This car has amazing gas mileage.

But has a lot of stuff go wrong with it.

Back seat is small, square.

Make sure you buy it in the right state to get a good warranty.

Take a long time to decide, because it has a lot of bugs.

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

Review Date: 26th June, 2008

6th Dec 2009, 19:56

You have to do the 60K miles timing belt change to ensure warranty coverage.

2003 Kia Rio I-4 gas from North America


It's a well-put-together, reliable, affordable car.


I'm happy to say that, in over 43,000 miles of driving mostly in the city, absolutely nothing has gone wrong with the car. The original tires lasted over 40,000 miles, and I'm still on the original brake pads.

General Comments:

I bought this car because of price. I was in financial distress at the time, so I bought it thinking it would be a car I would have to endure rather than enjoy. If I lost this car today I would go buy another one tonight.

The Rio has been totally trouble-free and reliable; has never failed to start, and runs smoothly thereafter.

I liked the exterior styling when I bought it, and still do. Actually, I think it looks better than the new model. It definitely looks better than anything else remotely in its price range. The interior is adequately furnished. Yes, there is a lot of hard plastic, but hey, it's not a 7-series BMW!

The engine is nicely matched to the size and weight of the car. I have found the acceleration to be more than adequate.

I have only one niggle, and that is with the gear ratios in the 5-speed manual transmission. At 60 mph, the engine is turning nearly 3,000 rpm. A sixth overdrive gear would be most welcome on the highway.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th April, 2008

2003 Kia Rio 1.6 from North America


Good car. Some dealers try, but are inept


Windshield washer pump ~60K.

Front wheel bearings repeatedly fail because they were improperly serviced earlier.

General Comments:

Nice car. I consider it to be fairly reliable, but the front wheel bearing failures are quite a pain.

These bearings are prone to failure, because few if any dealerships bother to use the special service tools to fix them properly.

Unfortunately, the special service tool to measure the spacer needed between the bearings is not available to anyone outside the dealership, or I would simply fix it myself. Improperly sized spacers cause the bearings to fail repeatedly.

I called corporate KIA to try to find a solution to the problem, and had to talk to some know-nothing individual who asked me what I would like the dealership to do. I explained the situation, but doubt any good will come of it.

One life lesson learned - Warranties are only as good as the service/product providers. In this case the dealers. My local dealerships refuse to do this warranty work, so I have been forced to drive some distance outside the city to have it done under warranty. The dealerships I have dealt with have been quite good, except for treating me like a know-nothing customer, and ignoring my polite suggestions.

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

Review Date: 24th March, 2008

20th Feb 2009, 17:59

Just an update - I posted the original review.

The car is at 112,xxx km. No major problems. The front wheel bearings have held up well. The guys at the dealership have done well.

The rear wheel bearings were covered as they also went at about 95K, although it did take some convincing as apparently the service adviser is hard of hearing.

At about 103K, the check engine light came on and I read the code. It indicated that there was a problem on the mass air flow sensor circuit. I cleaned it with some throttle body cleaner and it went away shortly after.

I am now looking at replacing the timing belt. It is overdue and should have been done by 100K, but I wanted to make sure the wheel bearing issues were solved before I put a day of work into it.