Ace of Base: 2019 Kia Rio S 5-Door

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

When exactly did it come to pass that hatchback versions of small cars were generally priced higher than their sedan counterparts? It’s not true in every example but, more often than not, one will shell out a few more simoleons for a five-door. I’ll posit that the original Ford Focus started this trend.

At least customers get a more practical car and, in many cases, a more stylish one.

Such is the case with Kia’s littlest family member. Its five-door variant is priced just ever so slightly above its two-box brother. The Korean automaker has a trophy case packed with Ace of Base awards, largely thanks to its strong value for money proposition. Let’s check this one out.

Starting under the hood, one will find a 1.6-liter inline-four making a more than reasonable 130 horsepower lashed to a six-speed automatic. Sure, a stable with this number of horses doesn’t seem too impressive in an era where factory-warrantied 797hp Dodges are available to anyone who passes the credit check but, considering your author piloted an 88hp Ford Escort in his youth, it seems more than generous.

That ten-year old car, by the way, necessitated rest stops to check the gas and fill it up with oil — such was the blow-through problem. It was sold for $250 to a man who later crashed it after failing to transfer it out of my name, prompting a visit to my home from the constabulary. Luckily, I was as diligent with paperwork as I was with inventing new ways to stay lucid in Business 101 after an all-night bender on George Street, so the perp was quickly caught.

Back to the Kia. A lack of manual transmission is disappointing but not surprising in this day and age. The Rio makes up for it by offering the likes of standard air conditioning, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment display with CarPlay, and several USB ports. Cruise and audio buttons pepper the adjustable steering wheel.

Unlike some other manufacturers, Kia doesn’t reserve the good paint for its expensive whips. This base S is available in bright red and this natty blue, with body color door handles not belying your cheapskate ways. In a shrewd bit of marketing, the ‘S’ trim is denoted by a scripted red badge on the rump that implies this is a sporty rather than base model. Those el cheapo 15-inch tires will be affordable to replace in a few years. A technology package is on tap for a very reasonable $800, including the likes of forward collision avoidance and LED headlamps.

Despite being a hair more costly than its sedan sibling, the Rio 5-door makes a great case for itself, chalking up another Ace of Base win for Kia. Just remember to complete all the paperwork when you sell it ten years from now.

[Images: Kia]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

More by Matthew Guy

Join the conversation
2 of 30 comments
  • DweezilSFV DweezilSFV on Jun 25, 2019

    'When exactly did it come to pass that hatchback versions of small cars were generally priced higher than their sedan counterparts' Whenever it was done it was to combat the dork/geek image that hung over from the 70s and it's hatchbacks. Ace of Base entry and complain about "el cheapo 15 tires" ? You're killing your own reason for your column. Those 15 inchers will be inexpensive to replace and are far more generous than your Escort's 13" rubber. Low repair, parts and service cost is, I would think, part of the point of shopping an Ace Of Base model. You can chuck that idea of an $800 [quickly obsolete] package of tech junk]as well.Not what a true Baser would even remotely consider. You're hanging out with the wrong crowd, Matthew, if you want to suggest an item like that. Stay focused. This is one of the best columns on TTAC.

  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Jun 25, 2019

    I just built this online ($16,490) for $17,6 with dest. When clicking on find one near your zip, I see the S model in ranges from 17,640 to 18,490 [!]. Perusing the local dealers, I see "savings" and "dealer discounts"

  • Arthur Dailey Have to admit that I love that interior colour. And also like the upholstery on the seats and the inside of the door panels. And when was the last time you saw a door hanging coffee cup holder? Some here probably didn't know that such a device existed.
  • Buickman this is about cars. I miss Robert.
  • 28-Cars-Later Can we end debt slavery next? Its getting to the point where its no longer voluntary.
  • Carson D Honda and Toyota still make the best American cars.
  • Slavuta I just though, with this rate we could make Cinco De Mayo a national holiday as well. Since we have tens of millions of American Mexicans, and probably more than African Americans