2004 Kia Rio

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$460–$6,156 Inventory Prices

Key Specs

of the 2004 Kia Rio base trim shown

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    29 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    104-hp, 1.6-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    5-speed manual w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

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

Notable Features of the 2004 Kia Rio

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

2004 Kia Rio Overview

By Cars.com Editors
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. ...
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

Latest 2004 Rio Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(3.7)
Performance
(2.5)
Interior Design
(3.1)
Comfort
(2.9)
Reliability
(3.0)
Value For The Money
(3.4)

Latest Reviews

(3.0)

It's Alright, Not Great

by Byzantine Catholic Dad from West Chester, Pennsylvania on November 21, 2017

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 ... Read full review

(2.0)

Terrible vehicle

by sportsfan from Shawnee, KS on August 18, 2017

I bought this vehicle in March and it was working fine, but now it has so many problems with it that are not worth fixing. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2004 Kia Rio currently has 2 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2004 Kia Rio has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Rio received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker