The Kia Rio will reportedly be discontinued soon in the United States. Its departure could eliminate one of the last options for a new car below $20,000, leaving only the Nissan Versa to pick up the slack.
The Rio's cancelation was reported by Automotive News, which indicates the subcompact hatchback-sedan duo's final model year will be the current 2023. Kia declined to comment on the model's future, telling us it "has made no official announcement about the Rio being discontinued in the United States."
The Hyundai Accent—which shares a platform with the Rio—was discontinued in exactly this fashion, with no follow-up to model year 2022. The Rio may also face a soft discontinuation, with no new model year but a prolonged production of 2023 models. A successor model may also be an outside possibility though, as a new generation of Hyundai Accent was revealed for overseas markets earlier this year.
The Rio's reported cancelation comes in spite of a new car price squeeze that has left the subcompact Kia as one of only a few new cars under $20,000. That low price hasn't driven sales, which reportedly totaled just 26,996 in 2022 before declining further in the first half of 2023. This can be attributed to both the growing popularity of light trucks (including crossovers and pickups) as well as the decline of the U.S. subcompact car segment in general. Just last week, the Mitsubishi Mirage was also reported to be gallows-bound.
Again, this would leave the Nissan Versa as the sole new car available for under $20,000. (Several others have MSRPs below the mark, but are pushed past by freight charges.) It would also make the sedan the lone body style choice in that price range, as the Rio is currently available as a hatchback. Nissan's is far from the only subcompact still on sale, but most of the holdouts are now crossovers—its one subcompact car competitor will be the much pricier Mini Hardtop.
There may be an outside chance of Korean subcompacts making a comeback if the new generation Hyundai Accent returns. Historically, it has shared its underpinnings with the Kia Rio, which could pave the way for a new, potentially U.S.-bound model. Hyundai hasn't indicated plans to bring the Accent back to the States though, and it's unlikely one would return without the other. So, if you want a small, cheap car that isn't a Nissan, it might be now or never.
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