2006 Kia Rio: Use and Toss?

Kia vehicles have managed to make significant strides in quality and durability since being introduced to the US market in 1994. Widely panned by critics as producing cheaply built and cheaply priced models, some Kia models are now performing at average or slightly above. The Kia Rio is not one of these cars, however. Only the extended warranty makes the Rio worth a look otherwise slightly more expensive cars from Toyota are preferable.

With a base MSRP of just $10,735, the Kia Rio is touted as “still the most affordable 4-door sedan in America.” Certainly, when it comes to price, the Rio is a winner. Add in standard features such as dual remote mirrors, driver lumbar support seats, and the extended warranty, and the car is a value leader. Of course, air conditioning will cost you extra and don’t expect to find any type of radio in the car either unless you pay extra for it. Remember, the emphasis is on value, not equipment.

The Kia is powered by a 1.6L DOHC 16 valve I4 engine paired with a five speed manual transmission. The five passenger sedan produces an anemic 104hp; a four speed automatic transmission is optional.

Various upgrade packages allow consumers to select additional “comfort and convenience” options as well as safety features including four wheel antilock brakes. One almost thinks that a customer would do better purchasing the basic model and then purchasing Kia accessories through a parts wholesaler to maximize the car’s value.

The best part of the Rio — or any Kia car for that matter — is the extended warranty, one of the best in the industry. Without it, the Rio would be truly forgettable. Kia’s warranty covers the following:

– Limited Powertrain:  10 years or 100,000 miles

– Limited Basic:  5 years or 60,000 miles

– Limited Anti-Perforation:  5 years or 100,000 miles

– Roadside Assistance:  5 years / unlimited miles

The Kia Rio serves the purpose of providing cheap, basic transportation. If you drive a lot and need an economical car, then the Rio is worth a look. Just don’t think that the car rises to the level of a Toyota, otherwise you will be sorely disappointed. You may get five or six good years out of the car before its value decreases to the point where it simply should be discarded.

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