Is the Kia Rio Really a Good Car?


Hi John

I'm in the market for a small car. I originally started looking at the Ford Fiesta and the Honda Jazz - both cars were a bit expensive though (although I would be willing to pay if I could see the value!) Jazz was OK and my wife didn't like the seat in the Fiesta so we didn't even bother driving it. We drove the Mazda 2 and I wasn't that impressed - it drove Ok but I felt it had a cheap feel to it and didn't have as many as the gadgets that I would have wanted...bluetooth etc.

I started looking at second hand cars (only a year old) I was looking at a top of the line 2012 Honda Jazz - Vibe.S, that would have been around $17k, but then hesitated when I was paying that price for a car over a year old.

After all that waffle my dilemma! Do you think It would be better value for me to get a vehicle a year old that originally cost a lot more (probs from Japan) or for the same price I could get a Hyundai I20 or Kia Rio oe something else for about that price?! with a 5 year warranty.... my thought is that just because it has a 5 year wty doesn't make it a better car - or does it?

I hadn't even considered the cheaper ones until I heard you on 2UE recommend a Rio to a lady - this really surprised me as I wouldn't have even had a Kia on my list. Now I when I got on to your website I notice that Kia advertises with you. 

Now I'm trying to be extremely delicate here!!!!! However when it comes to a car like the Rio, do you really think that this vehicle (and/or others of the like) are a better machine than the second hand Japanese Jazz for example?

Kind regards



Hi Keith,

Let's clear up the advertising thing up front. The ads on this website are Google ads. That means I have a commercial arrangement with Google, not Kia, or any other car company. The reason you're seeing Kia ads is that you have been researching Kia, and Google knows what you look at.

Spend 45 minutes looking through the Kogan website and see how many of those ads that you formerly saw as Kia ads turn into Kogan ads, or review the same pages on my website after a few days (or from another computer with a different IP address) and watch the ads change.

Google tracks your browsing and serves up the ads it believes are relevant to you.

So I hope that helps.

The Rio is the best small car in the market in my view. People in the market for a Rio want the security of a new car but they don't have much money. The Rio is a great car with the best warranty.

(Warranty and quality are un-related - Hyundai and Kia took the view that offering a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty was a significant benefit to buyers against the Japanese three-year/100,000km warranty. This has worked - their sales have increased in part as a result.)

The latest Hyundais and Kias (essentially the same company; albeit different brands) are just as good as the Japanese.

The Jazz is out-dated and awful.

Kia Rio beats Hyundai i30 on style and price, but is essentially the same powertrain stuffed into a different body. Buy the big engine (1.6), not the small engine (1.4). The smaller engine is anorexic.

Get back to me if you are in a position to buy because I can put you in touch with an excellent car broker who can secure the vehicle for you at the lowest possible price as well as help you avoid the major dealership pitfalls.

See also my guide to buying from a car dealer here.


John Cadogan