2004 Kia Rio

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$9,740

starting MSRP

2004 Kia Rio

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Fuel economy
  • Instrument readability
  • Fun to drive
  • Ride comfort on smooth surfaces
  • Seat comfort

The bad:

  • Performance with automatic
  • Resale value
  • Backseat space
  • Side-impact crash-test rating

2 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2004 Kia Rio trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • 104-hp engine
  • Manual or automatic
  • Sedan and wagon body styles
  • Subcompact dimensions

2004 Kia Rio review: Our expert's take

Vehicle Overview
Introduced to the United States in July 2000, the South Korean-built Kia Rio sedan was touted as the lowest-priced car on the American market. Kia also launched a Rio Cinco wagon companion shortly before the 2002 model year began.

Both subcompact body styles were redesigned and gained some welcome power for 2003. The current 1.6-liter dual-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine generates 104 horsepower. Both models received new automatic-off headlights and optional front fog lamps. Kia claims that shoulder room and hip room are greater than the dimensions in previous models. A reinforced steering wheel and column mount were meant to produce less vibration. A larger front stabilizer bar was aimed to improve handling, while an enhanced suspension was installed to improve ride comfort.

Other than the addition of lumbar support to the driver’s seat, little has changed on the 2004 Rio sedan. With all of its models, Kia focuses on a blend of affordability and reliability. Kia provides a long-term warranty that covers the whole vehicle for five years/60,000 miles, major powertrain components for 10 years/100,000 miles and corrosion for five years/100,000 miles.

Exterior
The Rio’s front-end styling was reworked in 2003, and the sedan’s rear end got a new trunk lid, taillights and back bumper. Apart from that front and rear freshening, the 2004 Rio and Rio Cinco look about the same as the 2001 and 2002 versions and resemble a typical small sedan and wagon. The basic design evolved from the Kia-built Ford Aspire of the mid-1990s.

Interior
Last year, the Rio and Rio Cinco got additional standard interior equipment, including a fade-out interior light, rear-seat heater vents and LATCH child-safety seat anchors. The instrument panel and center console were updated to include new cupholders. The seat fabric was revised, and the front door panels feature map pockets with an integrated bottle holder.

Even though five people can fit inside the Rio, it might be a tight squeeze in the backseat. Kia says the Rio’s seats are higher than normal and provide a commanding view for the driver and passengers. The height-adjustable driver’s seat includes an integral fold-down armrest.

Power windows and an AM/FM radio with a CD player are standard in the Rio Cinco and optional in the sedan. Air conditioning is also available as an optional feature.

Under the Hood
Kia’s 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine produces 104 hp. A five-speed-manual gearbox is standard, and a four-speed-automatic transmission is optional.

Safety
Antilock brakes are optional, but side-impact airbags are not available.

Rio Cinco
Except for its wagon body style, the Rio Cinco wagon is essentially the same as the Rio sedan. Rio Cincos gain standard alloy wheels and body-colored rear garnish for 2004. All driver’s seats now have lumbar support. “Cinco” translates to five in Spanish, which denotes the number of doors on this Lilliputian wagon. The Rio Cinco is available in only one trim level. A body-colored rear spoiler is available. Maximum cargo volume is 44.3 cubic feet.

The Rio Cinco has front buckets and a three-place, 60/40-split, folding rear seat. A tachometer, cassette player, tilt steering wheel and power steering are standard.

Driving Impressions
Even more than the Rio sedan, the Rio Cinco wagon benefits from last year’s power increase. Most other features and characteristics regarding the Rio Cinco are pleasing. It’s easy and fun to drive. On good roads, the ride is admirably smooth, and its handling isn’t bad either. The Rio Cinco stays right on course by taking curves competently and maneuvering adeptly with quick steering response.

The seats are nicely cushioned, comfortable, well bolstered and attractively upholstered. The seat bottoms are considerably longer than what is customary in small cars. The gauges are clear and easy to read at a glance.

 

Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com;
Posted on 11/5/03

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 3.0
  • Interior design 3.3
  • Performance 2.7
  • Value for the money 3.7
  • Exterior styling 3.7
  • Reliability 3.2

Most recent consumer reviews

3.7

Quite gas efficient.

This car met my needs, I like the room and reliability. I really was looking for a cheap car that would meet my needs of transportation, commuting and one that would make me save some cash on gas. Kia Rio 2004 was the one so far.

4.6

Mines nickname is zippy lol

Great vehicle for A to B ,great to fit thru traffic and and has acceptable horsepower for traffic also,if you keep well maintained it will drive like a beauty ,been driving for three years in this car and only miner regular maintenance is needed,and this is coming from a teenager's viewpoint

2.7

It's Alright, Not Great

Transmission, you're gonna need a new transmission, maybe even two. I had the transmission rebuilt and repaired a number of times while owning this vehicle. Thankfully, the first rebuild was under warranty. After that, I was on my own. It was only a matter of time. This car is probably worth the money, but don't expect it to last very long. You get what you pay for.

See all 12 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Kia
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 years or newer/less than 60,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12 months/12,000 miles
Powertrain
10 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
165-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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