really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 1
Average Mileage:
8,750 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2001 Kia Rio engine problems

engine problem

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2001 Kia Rio Owner Comments

problem #4

Feb 192008


  • miles


The contact owned a 2001 Kia Rio. While pulling out of the drive way, another vehicle was approaching at 50 mph, crashed into the driver who was ejected from the vehicle, run over by the other vehicle and is deceased. The driver tried to engage reverse and the vehicle unintentionally accelerated. The driver's side door was opened after the vehicle was struck. The vehicle was destroyed. A police report and pictures are available. The mileage was unavailable.

- Canton, MI, USA

problem #3

Nov 272006

Rio 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
01 Rio is a lemon & safety hazard. Many major repairs done including the timing belt & valves rebuilt, new cooling system, both control arms & boots. Wheel defect recently recalled caused excess wear/ tear on control arms, boots, alignment, tires, costing thousands of avoidable repairs. Fuel intake did come lose, nearly causing an engine fire due to defective part which was recalled. It continuously misfires, engine knocks, stalls. ECM was recalled but didn't fix the problem. Replaced spark plugs & wires (3 times in 6 months), ignition coil, sensors (oxygen, knock, crankshaft, temp). It stops for a 1-2 days, then comes back. Annoying & dangerous. Also has acceleration problem. At times, it won't go over 40 mph & also accelerates by itself. Brakes have completely failed, though there's no crack in the line, no leaking fluid. The car is a complete lemon. Online, there are hundreds of similar complaints. Dealers are aware but conveniently can't seem to diagnose the problems especially misfiring. Consumers get nickel & dimed doing needless repairs that don't fix the problem. The optima had similar problems w/crankshaft pos. Sensor which was recalled, but dealer denies any relation to problems with the Rio. Another problem - lack of availability & high cost of parts. Its bait/switch to sell a car with known problems, then guess at needless repairs & sell parts at an astronomical markup. It's cheap to buy, but repair costs make it very expensive. Research shows misfiring/engine knock has also led to engine fires. Also problems with air bags. My airbag light has been on since purchased, but dealer has yet to fix it. Also door locking problems, people being locked in vehicles. My drivers door locks by itself (manual locks). In case of engine fire or accident, a lock malfunction could cause unnecessary death/injury. These are known problems with hundreds of complaints, yet Kia has done nothing to address them. The 01 Rio is a lemon and safety hazard.

- Palm Harbor, FL, USA

problem #2

Nov 122003

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
After driving the vehicle for approximately 35 minutes, the vehicle suddenly accelerates up to 100 mph. The driver has to use the emergency brake to slow the vehicle down. During this period, the driver had to use excessive force to shift the vehicle into park. The dealer could not duplicate or determine the cause of the problem.

- Savannah, GA, USA

problem #1

Jun 122002


  • miles
At 27mph vehicle started to accelerate to 70mph with no deceleration, even when applying brakes. Cause unknown. Dealer notified.

- Kingston, PA, USA

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