Only 1 Kia Model Costs Under $20,000 and Is the Least Expensive Car to Own

Not every car shines for the flashy qualities of horsepower, speed, and jaw-dropping looks. For most, the crème de la crème of automotive freedom is a low cost of ownership. A paragon of such a characteristic is the Kia Rio.

The South Korean subcompact may not enjoy any double takes from passersby and may not intimidate any pedestrians, but it has spiritedness. The economy car is one of the best budget-friendly cars to own.

Front angle view of blue 2023 Kia Rio subcompact sedan, the cheapest new Kia car
2023 Kia Rio | Kia

How cheap is it to own a Kia Rio?

CarEdge, a website dedicated to analyzing automotive data points, ranks Kia as the fifth least expensive brand to own. Only Mazda, Fiat, Subaru, and Mitsubishi beat the South Korean automaker. While some of Kia’s offerings, like the sporty Stinger sedan and the three-row Telluride, cost a pretty penny over five years of ownership, there’s one that’s tens of thousands of dollars less.

The Kia Rio, according to CarEdge, costs just $21,115 over five years of ownership. But how is that calculated? For the breakdown, ownership expenses include depreciation, insurance premiums, maintenance and repairs, loan interest, and fuel costs. Insurance premiums are the biggest cost in owning a Kia Rio, culminating in 41% of the total. 

The price will vary significantly by age, state, insurance company, and mileage, but also from recent accidents, traffic violations, and credit history. Nevertheless, CarEdge’s estimate of $8,565 is based on a 40-year-old that drives 13,000 miles per year with full coverage and good credit.

Similarly, interest paid on a purchased Kia will depend heavily on personal financial factors. Yet, average financing costs equate to $2,706 over five years.

With 23%, or $4,840, of the five-year bill is fuel costs. The Kia Rio gets between 33 and 41 mpg depending on driving conditions. As a Rio increases its mileage, depreciation will also take effect. iSeeCars reports that the average five-year deprecation rate in the U.S. market is 33.3%. 

Luckily, the Kia Rio’s is just 15%, beating out the Toyota Corolla’s 19.8%. Part of the elevated ranking was the Rio’s five-year maintenance costs, which are estimated at only $1,494.

What does the Kia Rio have to offer?

Behind the redesigned Kia corporate logo is simple, inexpensive transportation boasting an unexpected level of amenities and driving sophistication. Despite its slightly sporty appearance, the Rio won’t win any races. 

Its 120-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder and continuously variable transmission are built for eking every mile out of a gallon of fuel. The 8.6-second 0-60 mph time doesn’t impress, but Car and Driver’s 39 mpg on the highway test does.

Regardless, the Rio absorbs road imperfections better than its competitors. The finely-tuned suspension also controls body roll in the corners. Some reviewers do have complaints about the numbness of the electric power steering. 

On the interior, the Kia continues simplicity with effortless dashboard control, including an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. An upgraded infotainment system is an S trim level option that adds Kia’s UVO car app system and SiriusXM satellite radio.

While the Rio doesn’t have as many driver-assistance aids as some rivals, automated emergency braking, forward collision warning, and lane-keep assist are available. However, base models are deprived of such equipment.

Related

How Much Does a Fully Loaded 2022 Kia Rio Cost?

Is the Kia Rio worth buying?

The base LX begins at a welcome $17,545, Edmunds reports. The S trim is just $640 more, and buyers will get more comforts and conveniences in their fuel sipper. An MSRP of $18,185 affords adjustable headrests, a center armrest, cruise control, a rear USB outlet, and keyless entry. 

Critically, the sedan version of the Rio is light on cargo space, and the hatchback provides better accommodations. Kia says the four-door has 13.7 cubic feet of trunk space, while the five-door has 17.4 cubic feet of room behind the rear seats. There’s also 32.8 cubic feet with those seats folded do. Yet, only the S trim has split-folding rear seats.

Irrespective of which trim is selected, each Rio comes with Kia’s five-year, 60,000-mile limited warranty and ten-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. The guarantee matches the best in the industry, Kia’s cousin, Hyundai.