2003 Kia Rio 1.6 from North America
Brake fluid governor failed at 37,000 miles. It leaked brake fluid like a sieve.
Brakes replaced completely at 34,000 miles.
The car has been aligned 5 times since new.
Rough start in hot weather.
Engine falters during low-speed cornering with the accelerator depressed.
It is now eating head and tail lamp bulbs left and right.
I really, really wanted to be totally positive about this car. Instead, I find myself rather leaning toward neutral.
Overall, the car is very decent basic transportation. If I were rating the car on sheer point A to point B, it would score pretty highly. After all, it does have some nifty conveniences like the sunglass holder, the map lamps, the decent cd player, and the height adjustable driver seat which I've really come to appreciate.
It also still looks good, despite its penchant for attracting dings and scrapes. I know that many people view Kia owners as those who must not care what their car looks like. As a result, mine has some pretty big nicks in it, mostly because the car is disrespected in SUV-filled parking lots all over the USA.
Mechanically, the car is confusing. While it seems to run well, the engine makes me nervous due to its tendency to run rough occasionally for no good reason, and the rough start in wet and hot weather which the dealer claims is my imagination.
The handling concerns me, as well. I have never driven a car with such weak brakes. Be careful at high speeds in wet or snowy weather... this car will shoot out of control like a speed skater on meth.
Dealer service is a strange experience, too. They act like they are your friend, rolling their eyes right along with you that your car is giving you trouble. That said, they have never found anything truly wrong with it. They simply shrug and say "come back when you can demonstrate what its doing".
Now that the car is out of warranty on the bumper-to-bumper coverage, Kia can state that my car is yet another example of a trouble-free vehicle, and that isn't always the case.
If you are looking for something safe and economical that you can strap Mom and the Kids into, I guess I'm completely neutral with the car. There is part of me that says you get what you pay for, and at $12,000 what did you expect? The other part says that if you were an upstart company trying to prove yourself, even if your cars were total crap you could save yourself with customer service. And yet they don't.
I understand that the new Hyundai based Rio is a better bet, as is the Accent it is a twin of.
Hopefully, the improvements in the new car will cancel out the years of poor service quality and very decent, serviceable products that they seem unwilling to stand behind.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 2nd January, 2007