A big improvement on the old model, and a nice little car in its own right
On delivery, the right hand tail light had a defect in the chrome inside the lens. Unfortunately, when the dealer replaced it under warranty, the paint around the tail light was scratched quite badly, as though brute force was used to remove the lamp unit, even though it is designed to be removed completely to allow the bulbs to be replaced. They fixed the paint for me, but the new lamp unit had scratches in the lens, as though it had been wiped with a dry rag when dusty. I was not impressed, but this is not a design fault.
Also, on delivery the car had a scratch on the bonnet, (that's what we call the "hood" in Australia if you are reading this in the U.S.). When the dealer sent it next door to a panel shop to get it buffed out, someone was grinding metal near the car and some red-hot specks of metal damaged the left-hand back window. This did not become apparent for a couple of months after I got the car, but the dealer replaced the window glass under warranty without any quibbling.
The radiator cap was replaced as part of a recall program.
This is my second Kia Rio, my first one being a 2002 model. I liked that car, but the new model is a huge improvement. In Australia, the Rio is sold in one trim level, as either a sedan or hatch. They are well-equipped here, with aircon, a six-speaker CD player, power steering, power windows, remote central locking and power mirrors. However, the price is the same now as I paid for my first Rio in 2002, although the equipment level is higher, and the new model has much more of a quality feel inside.
The 2006 Rio is comfortable and quiet to drive, with a reasonably smooth ride, and a quiet engine and driveline. The performance is good, but not brilliant, and it holds the road well, even at highway speeds. One thing I have noticed is that there is a slight feeling of body roll around town, so I expected this to increase on the highway, but it seems to flatten out as speed increases, so if anything, there is less body roll at cruising speeds than there is when driving around suburban streets. One of the few things I can fault is that the gearshift is a little clunky. The rear body pillars are also a little thick, which affects visibility.
The interior looks nice and modern, but the hard plastic trim does mark easily. There is a reassuring feeling of rigidity in the body. The remote central locking only works from a distance of about 3 to 4 metres away, but it is still a handy little extra. Our other car is a 2004 Ford Falcon, and it's remote central locking works from across the street.
One thing that is not changed from the old model is the fuel economy, even though the engine is sightly larger in the 2006 model. Overall it is a good car for the money, and with it's low fuel consumption, running costs are impressively low.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 6th December, 2006