It's a fact of life that manual transmissions are going the way of the dodo. We have to get used to it, but don't think for a minute that we're going to go about it quietly. We're mad as hell because it means the best way to drive a car is eventually going to be extinct. If you've never driven a manual transmission car, you haven't lived. Now, Kia's getting rid of it in one of their most entertaining vehicles, the Rio. 

kia rio sedan
The Rio sedan is a handsome little car whose fun per dollar ratio was damned high. 

We recently drove a Kia Rio5, the hatchback version of the Rio sedan, and it was one of our favorite small cars we've driven in a long time. Sadly, according to Cars Direct, the 2019 Kia Rio is about to get its six-speed manual transmission axed. Granted, it was only available in the lowest LX trim, but the fact that it even existed made us really happy because it meant you could plunk down a little money and get practicality, good looks, a great interior, and superb driving dynamics for such a tiny and rather underpowered car. 

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kio rio stick
Makes a pretty fun car a total hoot to drive. Take one last look at the Rio's manual shift knob. 

In 2018, there were three Rio trims to choose from, LX, S, and EX, for both the sedan and five-door hatchback. For 2019, only three configurations will exist: the base LX sedan, mid-level S sedan, and S hatchback. Kia stated that the decision was made to focus shoppers toward the value-packed S and the basic LX. All we know is that our beloved manual transmission will be no more. Time to go and get your hands on one while you can.

kia rio5
The Rio5 packed way more fun in it small body than we ever expected.

The only good news is that the S trims for 2019 will get beefed up with equipment including a 7-inch touchscreen with UVO Play and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility, and a backup camera. The six-speed automatic transmission, which is pretty good, will be the only transmission available on the Rio and Rio5 models starting next year. 

kia rio5 interior

We think the quashing of the stick shift is a piss-poor move for the brand since they're supposedly giving more attention to enthusiast-focused cars like the Stinger GT. We get that very few buyers want manual transmissions these days, and it is about the almighty dollar at the end of the day, but can't brands just take stick shifts out of the cars that already suck? 

Find Local Discounts on the Kia Rio5