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Considering a MY19/MY20 Kia Rio S
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi!
I’m seeking REAL feedback (not just a sales pitch) about the MY19 and MY20 Kia Rios, specifically the Rio S.
I’m in the market to upgrade, and really love the Rio. I’ve taken it for a test drive and have enjoyed the sales pitch from my local salesman, but really want to hear REAL reviews from REAL owners.
I want to know what you love, what you hate and everything in between!
Thanks!
 

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2013 Kia Rio Sedan Auto 1.6 Turbo // 2020 Sportage LX FWD
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463 Posts
CVT (IVT) transmission is the big issue for me.
 
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2013 Kia Rio Sedan Auto 1.6 Turbo // 2020 Sportage LX FWD
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463 Posts
what about it frustrates you, if you don’t mind me asking.
There have been a few reports of failing CVT in the soul with under 30k mi (still under warranty) and it is relatively new. I NEVER like to buy something new (major component, not body style) the first couple of years, because manufacturers are still developing the tech. The older Rio's with a 6spd have the same engine, but for some reason make more power (1.6 GDI gamma, see 2013 vs 2020) IDK for sure of course but I assume they "nerfed" (reduced) the power to mate to the weaker transmission.

The CVT is loud under load and feels very detached and artificial (subjective).

The Kia "IVT" (CVT) transmission software has artificial steps (fake gears) that tries to imitate a tradition transmission, partially defeating the entire point of the CVT. The previous generation torque converter style transmission uses technology that has been around for multiple decades, and was very reliable, usually outlasting the engine itself.

I could really rant on, but a lot of this is subjective, but my major concern is reliability, even if it is under warranty and is replaced free of charge, you will still be without a vehicle during the repair time (could be weeks) while making payments. It would be replaced with the same transmission offering little piece of mind, especially for long trips. Also I would point out, that if you experience transmission overheating, the car will go into a safe mode, that could leave you stranded for a period of time until it cools down, and that is considered acceptable and will not be fixed by the warranty.

If you was interested in a manual transmission model (base) then there is no issue here, but you can not get a manual with the modern tech, sun roof, ect. Maybe in 5 years people will look back at these comments as old timers afraid of change, but I wouldn't wager my $18,000+ to see. Maybe in 5 years Kia will come out with a slightly revised transmission that is near perfect.

Government mandates on fuel effecentcy are artificially demanding manufactures to constantly revise their product with little time for R&D.
 

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2018 Kia Picanto JA automatic
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Hi Mpeters,

You can disregard the issues mentioned in the first reply as the Australian Rio uses a traditional torque converter automatic transmission with either 4 speeds (base "S" model) or 6 speeds (Sport model). The GT Line model is quite different in that respect (7 speed DCT) but that model is not on your radar. You mentioned the Rio S that you are interested in, so unless you were wanting the manual then it would be the 4 speed auto.

I would highly recommend the Rio despite some of the criticism it has garnered from the (still very positive) reviews. The transmission and engine are very "tried and tested" and I am not aware of any real issues with either - to me the more tried and tested, the better even if that means some might criticise the car for using older technology.

Really, if you already like the car there is just one thing to you need to be aware of. A replacement model is coming in around a month's time but the main upgrade is that the transmission in the base "S" model moves from 4-speed to the 6-speed found currently on the higher spec models.

But this means you might get a bargain on the old model. Conversely it might mean the new "S" model is a bit more expensive. As for 4 speeds versus 6, most people would just automatically assume the 6 speed is better. This is not necessarily the case. I have a lot of driving time of both contemporary 4 and 6 speed automatics (including Picanto - 4 speed, Rio 4 and 6 speed and Sportage - 6 speed....and the 6 speed gearboxes are a double edged sword.

The problem is that when you are talking about cars like these (even the 2 litre Sportage), they don't really have sufficient torque once at high speed to simply get into 6th gear and stay there - even on a freeway when they encounter a relatively mild hill or for even a relatively leisurely overtake. Consequently, the 6 speed cars I have driven are somewhat annoying for me on high speed roads because of the gear "hunting" (changing too frequently amongst 4th, 5th and 6th). Yes, you can of course pull the gear lever back to force them to remain in 5th or 4th but then they sound much "busier" than the 4 speed cars do (which are more able to just stick in their 4th gear and be done with it). As a regular driver of a 4 speed automatic Picanto, I actually prefer driving it on the freeway than most of the cars I have driven with 6 speed gearboxes, except when I have driven vastly more powerful cars such as a Toyota Aurion (3.5 litre 6 cylinder). My Picanto, for example, on the same stretch of 100 km freeway made no change downs from 4th gear whereas a 6 speed Rio I drove over the same stretch changed gears a number of times between 4th, 5th and 6th. It was much more annoying than my 4 speed Picanto.

Bottom line - if it were me (which it obviously isn't), I might prefer to try and get a bargain on the 4 speed model since I wouldn't really want a 6 speed unless the car had much more torque (which would generally entail a 6 cylinder or turbo engine). Then again, if you don't think the more frequent gear changing will annoy you, the new 6 speed model would be the one to go with. It would also probably have more resale value due to the prejudice against 4 speed models.
 
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