2003 Rio New Car Test Drive
All-new last year, the Kia Rio is a nice little four-door sedan with a high roofline that gives it surprisingly good headroom. The Rio sedan's retail price starts at $9,095. Its price and warranty make it a tempting alternative to a used car.
For 2002, Kia has added the Cinco five-door microwagon to the Rio line. to the Rio line. (Cinco is Spanish for five.) Not a hatchback, the Cinco reminds us from a rear-quarter view of a Saab wagon, and that's not bad. At $10,385, it's a great way to get 24.8 cubic feet of dirty laundry home from college. It feels stable at high speeds and is an enjoyable car to drive.
Rio is available in sedan and Cinco wagon body styles. Both are powered by a spunky 1.5-liter twin-cam four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard.
Rio ($9,095) is offered as the low entry price sedan. Equipped with the optional automatic transmission, it retails for $9,970.
Options include an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission ($875), air conditioning ($750), four-wheel anti-lock brakes ($400), a rear spoiler ($85), and a choice of an AM/FM/cassette ($320) or AM/FM/CD audio systems ($395). Options are limited, as Kia wants to keep the Rio as strictly an entry-level car and keep it priced that way.
Rio sedans come with an Upgrade Package ($380), which includes power steering, tilt wheel, dual covered vanity mirrors and body-color side moldings.
The uniquely styled Rio Cinco ($10,385) comes standard with an AM/FM/cassette stereo and the upgrade package, making it a better value when compared with a similarly equipped sedan. It's design doesn't lend to adaptability of a spoiler, so you don't get that option, but you can upgrade to the CD player ($125).