2023 Kia Rio 5 S - It's the right size, right car for us


Six months ago we decided we should buy a new car. Most likely, unless we win the lottery, it will be our last new car.

We aren't wealthy, and we are not poor; we are frugal. My wife's previous car was a 2002 Ford Focus ZX3, so that is the size of car she is comfortable driving. There were many factors driving our selection - looks, reliability, economy of operation, and of course purchase price. In the end we settled on a 2023 Kia Rio 5 S, the car in the picture.

The Rio 5 S is a fairly standard econobox. I call it a min-station wagon; it has 4-doors and a rear hatch. One downside of the Focus was rear seat legroom. Our Rio is much better, I wouldn't feel like it would be torture for an adult to sit in the rear seat.

The Rio 5 S is no hot rod. The thoroughly modern 1.6-liter 4 cylinder makes an adequate 120 hp driving the front wheels through a CVT. Car and Driver clocked an identical car at 8.6 seconds for 0-60 mph, not that my wife will ever do that. (Did I mention that the Rio 5 S is primarily her car?) Fuel economy is rated at 32-mpg city and 41-mpg on the highway. We've exceeded the highway figure and almost met the city one. 

There are a few things we both wish the Technology Package had, primarily heated seats, but overall it's a comprehensive list:
Forward Collision Avoidance with Pedestrian Detection
Lane Keeping Assist
Lane Following Assist
High Beam Assist
Driver Attention Warning
Lane Departure Warning
LED Headlights and Positioning Lights
Supervision meter cluster with 4.2-inch display
DA2.0V + Modem Audio System
Tire Pressure Monitoring System High-Line
SIRIUS® Satellite Radio
Automatic Temperature Control
Push Button Start
Rear Occupant Alert
15-inch Alloy Wheels
Rear disc brakes
Chrome door handles

The nice thing about many of these items are a) they aren't intrusive, and b) you can turn off the ones that are.

We (mostly my wife) haven't driven our (her) '23 Kia Rio 5 S that much. In the six months we've owned it has only 451 miles showing! I usually drive a press car and my wife just runs errands around town. In the few times it's been on an Interstate it has performed very well - it rides comfortably and isn't overly noisy inside. 

There was only one downside buying the Rio 5 S and that was the cost. Unfortunately we bought during the period when there was a shortage of vehicles. Add in the fact that we wanted a vehicle either blue or red (most available were white or gray) meant we were at the mercy of a dealer. So we paid a couple of thousand more than MSRP. Such is life.

So far we're both satisfied with our red '23 Kia Rio 5 S. Throughout the expected years of ownership I'll keep you posted on how it is doing.

Photo courtesy of Kia


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