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2009 Kia Rio

Overview
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2009 Kia Rio Review

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Consumers on budgets have learned that finding a new sedan for around $12,000 is not easy. And finding one with standard front and rear side-curtain airbags and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty leaves only one option: The 2009 Kia Rio. The Rio's bargain-basement price doesn't come at the expense of styling or fuel economy. The handsome little four-door is quite the looker, and those willing to spend a bit more cash can equip this little entry-level econobox with such upscale features as power windows, steering-wheel audio controls and heated outside mirrors. The Rio has also made great strides in refinement over previous models, with more precision in the gearshift, less vibration from under the hood and a higher quality feel both inside and out.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're seeking a fuel-efficient small car that is affordable, stylish, roomy and well equipped, the 2009 Kia Rio makes a great choice. Those worried about long-term reliability can take comfort in the Rio's 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and 5-year/60,000 basic warranty.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If finding a car with the highest fuel efficiency, best resale value and strongest customer satisfaction survey responses are more important than a low sticker price, purchasing a Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris or Honda Fit may be a better choice.

What's New for 2009

All 2009 Kia Rio models receive an AM/FM/MP3 compatible CD stereo with a three-month trial subscription to SIRIUS Satellite Radio as standard equipment. LX and SX trims add a USB port beside the standard auxiliary audio input jack.

Driving the Rio

Driving Impressions Ride comfort and easy maneuverability head the list of the 2009 Kia Rio's merits. Even when the pavement gets troublesome, the Rio's suspension absorbs considerable roughness. Steering is light, but...

the Rio is delightfully nimble in urban environments, tracks adeptly on straightaways and is easy to guide into turns. Through curves the body doesn't lean as much as might be expected. Performance is improved but is no more than adequate with the mannerly automatic transmission. Although the engine gets seriously buzzy when accelerating, it quiets nicely at speed. A low cowl and sizable rear glass help create nearly unobstructed visibility.

Six Standard Airbags
If Kia can put side-impact airbags and side curtain-type airbags into every Rio, one wonders why all automakers have not followed.

Automatic Transmission
Unlike some small cars with automatics, the Rio goes through the gears promptly and easily, with no awkwardness or lurching. Shifts are barely noticed, in fact, though the manual transmission can deliver slightly more spirited acceleration.

2009 Kia Rio Details
2009 Kia Rio photo Interior

Although five passengers can squeeze into the Rio, longer-legged folks might not be comfortable in the backseat. Rear head- and foot-room are adequate, but the rear seat is hard and reclines excessively, and the center occupant straddles a tunnel. Front occupants get ample space on supportive and well-cushioned seats. The Rio's trunk has grown to 11.9 cubic feet and, with the LX trim, can be expanded thanks to the 60/40 split-folding rear seat. The Rio5 is a bit more useful, thanks to its large hatch opening and folding rear seats. Helpful extras include a dashboard slot that can hold a parking ticket, plus a hook that can carry a purse.

Exterior

Although designed in South Korea, the Rio's European-influenced appearance imparts a sporty and youthful character into an entry-level automobile. It's bigger than one might think, given its sub-compact status, and it has a nicely-tuned suspension and a wide track for added stability. As a result, the Rio delivers a smooth ride with somewhat sporty handling. The Rio rides on 14-inch steel wheels and the upper-level LX is equipped with full-wheel covers and wider tires, while the SX can be equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2009 Kia Rio features a 1.6-liter engine, five-speed manual transmission, body-colored bumpers, auto-off headlamps, rear defroster, variable wipers, height-adjustable driver's seat, tachometer, AM/FM stereo with MP3-compatible CD player, dual sun visors with vanity mirrors, dual cup holders and front, front side-impact and full-length side-curtain airbags. The LX trim adds air conditioning, auxiliary audio input jack and USB port, power steering, full wheel covers, tilt steering wheel, 60/40 split-folding rear seat and rear-seat adjustable headrests. SX models include 15-inch alloy wheels, sport seats with red trim, fog lights and a rear spoiler.

Optional Equipment

Options for the Rio include a four-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), dual heated power mirrors, power windows, power locks with remote keyless entry, steering wheel audio controls, front tweeter upgrade and a rear spoiler.

Under the Hood

The 2009 Kia Rio is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, which drives either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Although Kia has made major improvements in noise, vibration and harshness, the Rio's engine is still buzzy at high speed and lacks the smoothness and refinement of its Japanese competitors. Fuel economy is excellent, and it's EPA-rated at 35 miles per gallon on the highway when equipped with the four-speed automatic.

1.6-liter in-line 4
110 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
107 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/33 (manual), 26/35 (automatic)

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Buying this car?

2009 Kia Rio Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.1
Out of 10

Based on 185 Ratings for the 2006 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.3/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.3/10
  • Comfort
    8.1/10
    Styling
    8.2/10

Great cheap car

By on Monday, August 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 117,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "reliable, great mileage - and it comes in red :)"

Cons: "none, really"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Sadly, my little Kia Rio 5 with 117,000 just got totaled while being driven by a family member (no one hurt). I will really miss it. The car was dependable, sturdy, and got great gas mileage. I got the one with no bells and whistles, and the only thing I wish I had gotten were electric door locking because of my short arms. It was peppy enough, handled well, and reliable. I think it would have made it to 200,000 miles. I think I'm getting another one. It's not a car my tech-loving engineer sister would love, but it was perfect for me."

8 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Excellent car

By on Thursday, July 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 118,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"New AC and timing belt Automatic transmission 118000 mile excellent car For 4500 my number 3342375205"

Safest car ever!

By on Thursday, July 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Smooth ride, very safe"

Cons: "costly parts, slow acceleration"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is great when it comes to style, comfort, drivability and spaciousness. The ONLY problem I've had with this car in the past 4 years is a dead battery. BUT the cost of said battery was $190.00. So be prepared to pay higher costs for parts per my mechanic since Kia's are just "coming up". I still love my car and am proud of it's 10 yes 10 air bags!!!! Makes me feel completely safe and trust that my kids will be ok in the event of an accident."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Great little car for the money

By on Thursday, May 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 99,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great price fun to drive very ecconomical"

Cons: "Basic car, no frills Plastic instead of padding,,,"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Have had this car since 2007, has cost very little to maintain. It has been reliable cheap transportation, for years now. Very satisfied with the overall features and driving pleasure this car has given, me. Would buy another without hesitation....."

7 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Excellent car

By on Monday, April 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 88,800

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Easy to drive and park plus it get great gas mi."

Cons: "No cruse control"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Money was not wasted on purchasing this vehicle. It is very reliable and has great gas mileage. The body size is perfect for parking at crowded places because it fits in just about any space. It is easy to drive for going to work, school and running errands."

7 people out of 13 found this review helpful

My little Rio.

By on Saturday, April 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 160,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "affordable car to own and drive!"

Cons: "cheap interior and some pesky motor issues."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"My little Kia Rio has been a pretty good car considering how I drive LOL. It is a super affordable vehicle to own and operate the gas mileage is great I average 35-37 in mix driving, while I get 40 mpg on the interstate. I will say, the motor is probably the cheapest, besides the interior. I have replaced all ignition coils and did several tune-ups to maintain it, and I'm very religious on oil changes LOL. If you are looking for an affordable small car don't be afraid to buy a Kia - they have improved. I drive 450-500 miles a week without any problem! :)"

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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