Kia Rio Ends in 2024, Endangering the Sub-$20,000 Car

kia rio 2024

The Kia Rio, a popular subcompact sedan and hatchback, is set to be discontinued in 2024, according to a report from Automotive News. This news is concerning for car enthusiasts looking for affordable options, as it leaves only two budget cars available for purchase under $20,000. Even worse, one of those remaining options will also be discontinued in 2025.

Over the years, we’ve witnessed the demise of various entry-level cars like the Hyundai Accent, Hyundai Veloster, and Chevy Spark, all of which have been sacrificed in favor of taller, larger, and more expensive crossover SUVs. The Kia Rio unfortunately follows suit.

Despite its budget-friendly price, the base Kia Rio LX sedan comes well-equipped with power features, air conditioning, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and 15-inch steel wheels. Priced at just $17,875, including a $1,125 destination fee, it offers great value for money. Powered by a functional 120-hp inline-4 engine, the Rio LX achieves an impressive 36 mpg combined, further minimizing the cost of ownership. Additionally, Kia provides a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty for added peace of mind.

For those in need of more cargo space, the five-door Rio hatchback is available at a slightly higher cost, but otherwise offers the same features as the sedan. The range-topping Rio S, priced at $18,515, adds key driver-assist systems such as automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and automatic high beams.

In a market where the average new car transaction price exceeds $47,000, it appears that budget cars are becoming less popular. However, the Kia Rio has maintained its status as a bestseller in the budget car segment. In the first half of 2023, Kia sold 14,196 Rios in the U.S., only slightly down from the previous year’s sales of 14,918. This performance surpasses the other remaining options in the sub-$20,000 category: the 2023 Nissan Versa ($17,075) and the 2023 Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback ($17,340). Nissan sold 11,014 Versas in the first half of 2023, while Mitsubishi sold just 5,316 Mirages. This explains Mitsubishi’s decision to discontinue the Mirage by 2025, as reported last week.

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Soon, the Nissan Versa will be the sole new car available with a sticker price and destination fee below $20,000. It should be noted that the Versa comes standard with a 5-speed manual transmission, but adding a CVT increases the price to $18,745.

Speculations suggest that Kia plans to repurpose its Monterrey, Mexico factory, where the Rio is currently manufactured, to produce small electric vehicles. Notably, the Kia Forte compact sedan is also manufactured there and is the brand’s second bestselling vehicle in the U.S., trailing behind the popular Kia Sportage compact crossover.

As the Kia Rio bids farewell, car enthusiasts seeking an affordable new car will have limited options. The industry’s shift towards larger, more expensive vehicles reflects changing consumer preferences. Nevertheless, the Kia Rio will be remembered as a budget-friendly option that provided great value for money.

FAQs

Q: Why is Kia discontinuing the Rio?

A: Kia, like other car manufacturers, is responding to the market’s shift towards larger, more expensive crossover SUVs. Discontinuing the Rio allows them to repurpose their factory to produce small electric vehicles.

Q: What are the remaining options for budget cars under $20,000?

A: Currently, the only other options in the sub-$20,000 category are the 2023 Nissan Versa and the 2023 Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback. However, Mitsubishi plans to discontinue the Mirage by 2025.

Q: Will Kia be replacing the Rio with another affordable option?

A: There is no official information regarding a replacement for the Kia Rio at this time. However, Kia’s focus seems to be shifting towards manufacturing small electric vehicles.

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Conclusion

The discontinuation of the Kia Rio in 2024 marks the end of an era for budget car enthusiasts. With only two remaining options in the sub-$20,000 category, car buyers will need to make their choices wisely. While the market trend leans towards larger and more expensive vehicles, the Kia Rio will be remembered as a reliable and affordable option that catered to the needs of budget-conscious consumers. As we bid farewell to the Rio, we look forward to the future of affordable cars in the rapidly evolving automotive industry.