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Used Kia Rio review: 2011-2013

The good news for anyone thinking of buying a Rio is that the bad old days are long gone.
EXPERT RATING
8
NEW The Rio was the car that kicked Kia's Australian sales into gear in 2000. Before that the cars from the Korean carmaker were best known for their for the cheap-and-cheerful pricing and not much more. Beyond the pricing the build quality was average at best, and the reliability wasn't that great either. But like

NEW

The Rio was the car that kicked Kia's Australian sales into gear in 2000. Before that the cars from the Korean carmaker were best known for their for the cheap-and-cheerful pricing and not much more. Beyond the pricing the build quality was average at best, and the reliability wasn't that great either.

But like other automotive invaders that have landed here over the years things improved, and the Rio was the car that led the way. By 2011, when the new UB Rio hit the market Kia had undergone a transformation and its cars, the Rio included, were starting to get the right sort of attention.

There were three models in the new Rio range, the S, Si, and SLi, and three body styles: a 3-door hatch, a 5-door hatch, and a 4-door sedan. All featured the new corporate grille, and boasted clean, flowing lines and solid proportions that added up to an attractive car by any measure.

Slide into the cabin and you were greeted by an equally attractive interior with comfortable seats, quality fit and finish, and appealing materials. The cabin was light and airy with room enough for four adults in comfort, and five if needed. Add to that a roomy boot space, which could be expanded in the hatch by folding the back seat.

Kia offered two engines, a 1.4-litre four that powered the base model S, and a peppier 1.6-litre that gave the Si and SLi their get up and go. Buyers of the S could choose between a four-speed auto and a six-speed manual, but those who opted for the Si or SLi had the choice of a six-speed auto as well as the six-speed manual. Out on the blacktop the Rio performed admirably, with good performance, particularly from the larger engine, and the responsive transmission. The ride was quite comfortable and the handling agile and responsive.

NOW

The good news for anyone thinking of buying a Rio is that the bad old days are long gone. You no longer have to justify your purchase on the basis it was cheap, current Kia cars are ones you want to own. Better fundamental engineering, decent build quality add up to reliability and a more enjoyable ownership experience. Things you couldn't guarantee before the new generation models arrived on the scene.

We get few complaints about the Rio at Carsguide, which confirms the belief that the cars are hitting the mark with owners. While quality of engineering and production go a long way to ensuring you get a good run from your car, they only go so far. The other important consideration is service and maintenance, and for that you need to consult the service book to see that your chosen car has been serviced regularly and according to Kia's recommendations.

The cam-timing belt needs to be changed at 100,000 km, so make sure it has been if the car you're thinking of buying has passed that mark. Also check the car's electrics, these can fail, and make sure all systems, air, cruise, Bluetooth, etc. are working before you sign up to purchase. The great thing about the Rio is that it had Kia's five-year warranty, which means that even the earliest UB models are still covered by the factory.

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2013 $5,720 $11,770
2012 $4,620 $9,790
2011 $3,740 $8,140

View all Kia Rio pricing and specifications

Pricing Guides

$8,250
Based on 51 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$2,484
Highest Price
$10,888

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
S 1.4L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $5,980 – 10,888 2011 Kia Rio 2011 S Pricing and Specs
Si 1.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $9,900 – 9,990 2011 Kia Rio 2011 Si Pricing and Specs
SLi 1.6L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $5,060 – 7,370 2011 Kia Rio 2011 SLi Pricing and Specs
Sports 1.4L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $2,484 – 8,500 2011 Kia Rio 2011 Sports Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist

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