The 2002 Kia Rio offers an affordable option as one of the lowest priced compacts in the U.S. The trade-off: one four-cylinder engine choice, cheaper interior materials, and a limited list of features. However, for the budget-conscious, this peppy car gets you where you need to go.
Body Styles: sedan, wagon
Engines: 1.5-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Kia Rio, Kia Rio Cinco
The least expensive car in America now appears in a wagon or sedan. Known as the Rio Cinco, the Kia five-door offers 44.3 cubic feet of cargo room with the back seat down.
The Rio Cinco classifies as a wagon and the Rio Base as a sedan. Both models have four doors and a choice of exterior colors. The aerodynamic-looking front end uses typical sedan styling. The triangular taillights make the 2002 Kia Rio stand out. The 94.9-inch wheelbase proves small for the segment. The Rio extends to 165.9 inches in length. The sedan bases its looks and platform off the Ford Aspire, which Kia built in the 1990s.
The exterior advantages on the Rio wagon include a rear defogger, intermittent wipers, 14-inch steel wheels, all-season tires, and a rear window wiper. The base features also include 14-inch steel wheels, along with intermittent wipers, and a rear defogger. No rear wiper comes on the base model. Both versions have six inches of ground clearance.
The Rio seats five passengers inside a mildly equipped cabin. The front bucket seats and rear seat feel comfortable and firm. The short wheelbase makes the back seat a bit tight for bigger adults, but ample for children. The armrest in the adjustable driver’s seat offers good storage. Trunk space remains satisfactory with 9.2 cubic feet available. The Rio Cinco offers 44.3 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats down.
Standard features for the base 2002 Kia Rio include a trunk light, cloth upholstery, bucket seats, a front storage console, cup holders in the rear and front, power outlets, and front door pockets. The Rio Cinco adds speed-proportional power steering, dual vanity mirrors, a clock, a tachometer, and a four-speaker AM/FM stereo. Air-conditioning remains optional.
The gauges seem very easy to read while driving, with larger buttons than before. Radio controls sit within easy reach, as well. The optional air-conditioner works especially well inside the Rio.
Performance & Handling
Powering the Kia Rio, a 1.5-liter four-cylinder couples with a standard five-speed manual or an optional four-speed automatic transmission. The engine makes a small 96 horsepower, adequate for a compact auto. The Rio provides an appealing, pleasant drive. It offers quick acceleration as well as reasonable passing power.
The 2002 Kia Rio has a good ride quality and feels composed in steering. The response feels quick and well-behaved, giving a confident sensation to the driver. It has a relentless whine when going over 75 mph, but maintains the speed well. The four-speed automatic transmission avoids gear searching with the overdrive-off button. On straightaways, the Rio’s steering needs only slight correction during high speeds. Acceleration with manual shifting makes the Rio quick in passes and merging. Performance seems good with the automatic transmission, but it sometimes struggles to maintain speed.
The 2002 Kia Rio comes with dual front airbags, and anti-lock brakes remain optional.
EPA Fuel Economy
Kia Rio: 23/29 mpg city/highway
Kia Rio Cinco: 23/29 mpg city/highway
- Snappy engine
- Unbeatable price
- Decent build quality
- Excellent warranty
- Pleasant styling
You Won't Like
- No cruise control
- Power windows unavailable
- Unrefined ride quality
One of the cheapest compacts in the U.S.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Hyundai Accent
- Daewoo Lantus
- Toyota Echo
- Toyota Camry
- Honda Civic
- Honda Accord