Kia Rio JB, kind of like let’s join hands to make more hands. Kia Rio JB, finally a car from Kia that is worth buying. Really worth buying.

Launched all the way back in 2005 with YouTube, the second generation Rio was very close to being a commercial success. Built jointly on the platform with the Hyundai Accident, another exceptional car but more obscure than Poets of the Fall, Kia Rio JB was and is the definition of “cheap and cheerful”. If you don’t have patience and don’t want to read further – Kia Rio JB is a cheaper Kia Cee’d but with the same engines and approximately the same reliability.

So then why didn’t it sell so well in Europe?

Because in 2006 the Kia Cee’d and Hyundai i30 were launched and from that point the revolution and the korean assault on the european car market began. Sure, they share engines, but the main difference is that the i30 and Cee’d were designed in Germoney, for the european market, and the Rio JB was left as an international sort of gig. Kind of like Armando Christian Perez’s korean cousin.

Kia Rio JB Engines


  • 1.4 MPI G4EE Alpha II of 96 horsepower – I won’t talk too much about this tarmac-tearing 1.4 because it’s identical to the 1.6 so let’s move on.
  • 1.6 MPI G4ED Alpha II of 110 horsepower – Now we’re talking. A classic petrol engine from Hyundai/Kia which has no reasons to raise your pulse, neither performance-wise nor running costs-wise. Sure, it’s noisy like a diesel and the fuel economy is completely unimpressive and the engine frame wears out, but overall it’s an engine without much going on for it, good or bad. And yet, why buy this engine? Because it was also available with an reliable 4 speed torque converter automatic gearbox. 1 – 0 for Celta Vigo.


1.5 CRDi U-Line of 109 horsepower  – Sadly it’s the only diesel available, which is the Korean counterpart / blue brother to VW’s 1.4 TDI 3 cylinder diesel. Basically the classic 2.0 CRDi from the Santa Fe / Magentis / Sonata / Sportage, with one cylinder removed. This means that it is a very reliable and economical engine, only that it needs an occasional cleaning of the oil sump pickup pipe strainer.

Kia Rio JB Common Issues

  • Again the suspension is not a bright spot for the Kia Rio, and in more serious cases the suspension also develops an appetite for front tires.
  • We rise or we fall together , because that’s how it is in the brotherhood, and so Kia Rio JB suffers from the same steering column issues as the Hyundai Accident. But at least it is the only sort of big issue.
  • It’s a budget Kia, so your demands and expectations of it must be as high as my bosses’ expectations regarding my work.

Kia Rio JB Verdict

The Rio is like Cinderella, but only in the beginning part. She started from the bottom, she worked her way up a little, wasn’t particularly popular, but she laid the foundations for a future queen. In this case the Kia Rio UB, which came out of the blue and became the queen of european superminis. Is it worth buying a Rio JB instead? If you have a budget set by your wife or if you want cheap and cheerful, then it’s definitely worth it. It is NOT a premium car, but it is not quite a car either. It’s just there. Anonymous. In traffic. Doing his job. And you will pass by it without knowing what car it is. Or even care. Not even the owner will care. But at least the car will not remind him of its existence too often, asking for parts.

What engines do I recommend? For petrol power I should recommend the 1.4 litre unit because in this class of cars every pound counts but both of them are fine really. As for the diesel, you will never guess.