COAL: 2008 Kia Rio LX- The Anti Joy Ride

(This is of my actual car, the rest of the pictures in this post were from Google.)


Gather ’round Curbivores, and listen to my tale of woe! I suffered with one of the worst cars I’ve ever driven for three years, having paid nearly twenty times the value of it by the end of my long lease (read: prison sentence). How does one find himself in such a disheartening situation? It all began with an accident… 


(These are the type of pumps I used to wash, from the actual company I work for.)


It was my fault, really. I should’ve been paying better attention, yet my mind was swimming with thoughts of my college coursework, and the massive pile of paperwork I had to read through to get health insurance from my job working in the concrete industry. My days were long, and my nights were longer. I had realized that I had made a mistake. College wasn’t for me. The shine had worn off and all that lay ahead was a never-ending grind of dull classwork, and washing concrete pumps for a living.

On top of all that, I had made yet another mistake in my choice of vehicle. If I had only known that I can’t stand the height and driving dynamics of a crossover, I would’ve never picked that 2003 CR-V as my next car. I had been taken in at the dealership by how nice it was, how good the leather seats felt, and at the proposition of a six CD changer. However, a mere two weeks in, little things began to annoy me. The plastics felt hard and scratched easily, the switch gear was all over the place, and I didn’t feel like I was riding in so much as on top of the car.

This all came together in a perfect storm that day in 2015, as I made a left turn when I shouldn’t have. I maintain to this day that the light had malfunctioned, switching from flashing yellow, to green, back to flashing yellow in the space of a few seconds. When I made the turn, a car was stopped at the light across from me, as you would do when someone has a green arrow. However… There was a red blip that was getting closer and in an instant I knew the car wasn’t going to stop. I put on the brakes but it was just too late. I plowed into the Mustang that had sped its way through the intersection. I carefully limped my Honda into the parking lot of the diner that was my destination in the first place and tried not to break down crying, the weight of all my recent mistakes threatening to snap my spine like the toothpick it resembled.

(The only time a 2nd gen Rio will look slightly cool)


The rest of the story bares repeating, however, I now needed to find another car – and fast. Enter the Kia Rio. I bought it from the same dealership that had sold me the CR-V. It was the only car on the lot that the bank would finance me for, and the only one in which my pitiful 500 dollars down would be enough. The test drive hadn’t impressed me, feeling under powered and sad (more on that in a minute!), but come what may, I was now the slightly disappointed owner of Korea’s cheapest North American offering.

To end this ramble, my closing thoughts: Is it enough that a car simply gets one from point A to B without bursting into flame? I suppose so, and certainly the Rio did that if nothing else. However, I maintain that a car has to do more than simply get by. The body felt cheap and tinny and would dent if you looked at it the wrong way. The paint would scratch off with alarming regularity. It was already starting to rust by the time I bought it, and it only got worse from there. It felt like you were driving a go-kart, as the tiny four-cylinder would groan its way through the sluggish automatic gearbox, and the seats felt like they were stuffed with old newspaper for all the support they gave.

It got to the point where the engine was losing compression, and the whole thing was just waiting to collapse into a pile of cheap steel and blue paint. Perhaps this would be fine on an economy car from the early 90’s, but not from 2008, and certainly not one I paid $8000 for at the time of purchase plus another $2000 for in repairs for the time I owned it. I eventually sold it to a women that was desperate for a running car for the princely sum of $300.

Meet Helen. She’ll hopefully be the subject of an article one day.


I now have my first classic car, a 1987 Plymouth Gran Fury. This is my chance to hit the reset button with a car I love, and put this whole mess behind me.