2006 Kia Rio 5 SX (605)


This week we’re looking at the 2006  Kia Rio 5 SX. After driving a few cars with manual transmission recently I’m reminded how much work they can be. I’m finding it difficult to justify a manual transmission and then it dawned on me that I’m forced to pay more attention to the driving experience. Yes, auto transmissions are distracting us from the business of driving. But I’d still buy auto any time.

This is obviously a very basic car that demands we take a trip back to the future, where mileage will be more important than power – even in America .

Public Service:

First I have to tell you a short story. I’m traveling down the freeway and notice a car with door guards on all 4 doors. You don’t see them often because it’s not usual for someone to be so concerned about YOUR car in today’s world. Most would consider them rather ugly. It surely won’t protect them from inconsiderate people who open their doors in parking areas without the least concern for the damage they can cause to your car. Kudos to that man, whoever he is.

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Handling & Performance:

This Pea Popper is agile Jack, and nimble too, even if it’s not really very quick – candle or no. The most difficult thing for Americans to overcome in owning a car is that their love affair with the automobile is more passionate than a horse to a cowboy a hundred years ago. That affair is also ruled by ego. We must have it no matter the cost which is no small thing. So if performance is so important to both sexes you can bet that need for speed will force big fuel hungry powerful cars and trucks to continue to be the sweetheart of car buyers in America , if nowhere else on the planet.

I have a suggestion – buy the gas guzzling Suburban to pull the boat to the river and then park it and drive a Rio as a commuter the rest of the week. These things are a kick to drive and small enough to zip into that parking space you’d never squeeze into with that Sub.


Once you look at the Scion this Kia Rio by comparison is beautiful. A 10.

Fit and Finish:

Pretty darn good by comparison with high end cars for five times the money. Most people would find it hard to justify the added money for the more finely crafted car.


Not bad, but you can do better by buying American. Look at the Chevy Aveo for example.


Standard equipment excludes power windows, mirrors, door locks, keyless entry and added audio speakers. This is only $600 to consider.

Consumer Recommendation:

This Rio 5 is an example of responsible transportation. It will give your wallet a rest and give you a sense of putting a personal nail in Al Qaeda’s coffin. Cut the need for Middle East oil and become a fanatic too. Launch your own Jihad against OPEC. It’s the civil response to their car bombs.

In any case we need to dump the big cars in favor of Korean cars to support our democratic friends in South Korea . Heck, Japan is even building some of their line in Korea .

Standard equipment does not include antilock brakes and will only cost $400, which is money well spent.

Recognized Competition:

Kia Rio $13,700, Chevrolet Aveo $9-13,000, Ford Focus $13-17,000, Scion xA $12,780,  Suzuki Reno $13-15,000 and Hyundai Accent $12,455.

Good News:

Very good fuel economy, great commuter.

Bad News: 

Standard Equipment:

1.6 liter 110 hp 4-cylinder engine, 4-speed auto trans, power rack and pinion steering, power front disc and rear drum brakes, dual front and side seat and curtain air bags, child rear seat tethers and anchors, air conditioning, audio, tachometer, tilt steering column, leather wrapped wheel and knob, manual 8-way driver seat adjustment with fold down armrest, , tinted glass, 60/40 rear split fold down seat, remote manual mirrors, auto off headlights, fog lights, variable intermittent wipers, rear wiper washer.

Gas Stats:

29 City and 38 Highway MPG


MSRP $14,350.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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