August 6, 2001
The 2001 KIA Rio is amazingly affordable.
Since I test drove this car I have found myself talking about how nice this car is for the money. I actually recommended it to parents looking for a car for their college-bound student, since some of the used cars they were looking at were more than the base price of Rio at $8,895. And with Kia's 10 year or 100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty program, it is even a better deal.
The Rio is a good looking four-door sedan. My test model came in light gold-beige. It has a smooth wedge-shape look with nice features such as the chrome front grille and elongated headlamps.
I found the Rio to be plenty spacious with more than adequate trunk space. The ride was smooth and enjoyable. It is easy to maneuver and park.
The 94.9-inch wheelbase contributes to the Rio's handling as does the independent MacPherson strut front suspension. The rear suspension is a simple torsion beam with coil springs.
My test model had ventilated front disc and rear drum brakes.
The 1.5-liter engine produces 96 peak horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 98 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm. Kia's all-new MI-Tech (Millennium Innovation Technology) powerplant offers multi-port electronic fuel injection, dual overhead cams and tuned intake and exhaust manifolds.
My test model came with a five-speed manual transmission. An electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission is optional. Steering is by rack-and-pinion, with power assist part of an upgrade package that also includes a tilt wheel.
The standard features on the Rio include a rear window defroster, tinted glass, full cloth interior and center console with two cup holders. There are front seatback pockets, dual manual remote mirrors and a trunk light. The driver's seat is height-adjustable and also features an integral fold-down armrest.
The options and upgrades on my test model brought the cost up to $10,557. They included air conditioning, an AM/FM stereo cassette player, power steering, tilt-steering wheel, full wheel cover, body color molding, dual visor vanity mirror and carpeted floor mats.
Other options available include body color rear spoiler, alloy wheels and antilock brakes.
The Rio is built with front and rear crumple zones and side-door impact beams. Dual airbags are standard. Available 4-wheel antilock brakes provide extra stopping performance.
The Kia Long Haul Warranty Program consists of three basic components: a 10-year/100,000-mile limited power-train warranty, a five-year or 60,000-mile limited basic warranty and a five-year or 100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance plan is also part of the comprehensive coverage program.
The Kia Rio is manufactured by Kia Motors Corp. in Seoul, South Korea.