2003 Kia Rio from North America


Not impressed


At 20,000km the car required new tires

At 24,000km a section of the exhaust fell off.

At 40,000km the check engine light has been going on and off. For the past 3 months I have been going to 2 dealers for the light. They have replaced the wheel sensor and transmission sensor. The light came back on again and indicated the wheel sensor again. They finally decided to diagnose the problem. It was corroded wires.

The two Kia dealers were not very helpful as they did not offer a pick up or drop off service.

It has been very inconvenient to keep taking the car in for the engine light.

The engine does not have a protective plate underneath it, so the entire engine compartment is covered with sand and salt from one winter driving.

The car makes loud whistle sounds when driving at high speeds. A complaint was made and I was informed that it is just the design of the car.

After the first oil change at 15,000km I noticed that the fuel mileage would worsen with every tank of gas. I started with about 450km per 30L tank. Now I only get 360km per tank.

General Comments:

Parts come from Korea and take a long time to come in.

The car is not made for tall people.

I am not happy with the Kia dealers as they do not inform you as to how the work is proceeding (if at all).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 8th April, 2005

2003 Kia Rio 1.4 Liter from North America


The KIA Rio is not a reliable car and has cost me hundreds of dollars in repairs


At 15,000 miles the brakes were worn to less than 18%.

At 18,000 miles the front right bearing locked up.

Car makes loud noises at higher speeds during windy days.

At 22,000 miles the right front bearing locked up again.

At 30,000 miles the right front bearing went out yet again.

Right front spacer was not placed on car during assembly.

Tires required replacement at 22,000 miles.

Gas mileage not as high as factory claims.

Radio cuts in and out when hitting a bump.

Car failed inspection in 2004 with less than 20,000 miles on it.

Windshield Wiper motor burned up at 31,000 miles.

General Comments:

At 15,000 miles the brakes were worn to less than 18%. When taken to the dealer, I was told that this part is not warranted in the 10 year warranty. I pulled out the book and found that the brakes are warranted during the 3 year 36,000 warranty period. I took the car back and showed the dealer. He proceeded to give me an estimate of over $500 and again stated that he would not replace the brakes under warranty.

At 18,000 miles the front end locked up on the highway and required the car to be towed to another dealer. After the service manager read the notes put on my VIN by the previous dealership, he refused to even look at my car. I had it towed to my regular mechanic. He informed me that the right bearing was bad & replaced. At 22,000 miles, the right front bearing went out again. My mechanic states that KIA has a technical service bulletin published regarding the front bearings. He replaced the bearing again using a KIA part. At 30,000 miles the bearing went out again, this time causing me to hydroplane and hit a ditch. My mechanic kept the car for a week to see what was causing the bearings to go bad. The service manager at KIA explained that he does about 5 new bearing jobs a week on these cars and advised that it could be a spacer between the bearing and the axle. It seems that most of these cars left the factory without that part. It took KIA a week to get the part to my mechanic due to the demand.

It is important to note that even though KIA states they warranty their cars for 10 years, none of the things that have gone wrong with the car was "covered by warranty" according to the three dealers I have been to. I have filed a complaint with the Department of Transportation, the Better Business Bureau, and the National Transportation Safety Board. I have every avenue at KIA including the arbitration process.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 10th March, 2005

11th Mar 2005, 12:49

The price of the car was appealing, wasn't it? That's where the appeal ends, though. People don't like to spend money, and that mindset makes those types very short-sighted. You go with the cheapest car you can find so that you can "proudly own a new car," only to get regret your purchase later, when you come to realize just how "cheap" it is! You seem to like cheap cars, as your last was a Cavalier. If you could humble yourself enough to settle for a used car, for the price of your brand new heap of junk, you could buy a used car that would outlast 10 new cheap ones.

Some entrepenuer is trying to start a business importing cars from China. I pity anyone who would buy one of those cars. It's like the people that get the cheapest knock off of something they want from Wal-mart, then they get so mad when it fails them so soon. If you can't afford a GOOD new car, get a good used one! A 10,000 new Kia couldn't hold a candle to any of the used 10,000 dollar Suzukis, Hondas, Toyotas, or Subarus. It's sad that so many people don't consider quality as a factor in their purchase. Lots of American products (cars excluded) are far superior to the foreign versions in quality. Amercians want cheap, not high quality. Good, fast, cheap. Pick any two.

25th May 2005, 12:02

The car has as a 1.6L if it is 2003 or a 1.5 if it is older than a 2003.