Another under-$20,000 new car bites the dust

Mere days after the cheapest car in America – the Mitsubishi Mirage – was declared dead, the third cheapest new car is getting the axe. The Kia Rio will be wrapping things up once the 2023 model year run finishes, Automotive News reports.

We contacted Kia to confirm the news and will update this story when we hear back. Yes, interestingly, Kia has continued to sell both the sedan and hatchback versions of the Rio right until the end. As of this writing, the base price on a Rio sedan is just $17,875 after destination charges, while the hatchback stickers for $18,815. That’s pricier than both the Mirage and base Nissan Versa, but not by a whole lot. Plus, to get a Versa cheaper than the Rio, you need to opt for its five-speed manual transmission, while the Rio comes with an automatic as standard equipment.

This Rio news follows its counterpart’s demise, the Hyundai Accent, which was axed after the 2022 model year finished. It follows the trend of automakers discontinuing their cheapest (and lowest-margin) vehicles in their respective lineups as more Americans seek out bigger crossovers, SUVs and trucks. 

The list of new vehicles that you can technically buy for under $20,000 gets shorter, too, as the list was limited to just the Rio, Versa and Mirage at this point. Many other models are hovering right over $20,000, but the market for ultra-cheap is nearing death at this point. Even late-model used cars under $20K are getting to be rare.

The Rio totaled sales of 27,065 in 2022, which isn’t so far off from this latest generation’s best year of just over 31,000 sales. Through 2023, Kia has moved 16,551 Rios, which is down ever so slightly versus 2022 numbers.

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