2010 Kia RioEnlarge Photo
The aging Rio, our review notes, has "had essentially the same interior and exterior design since the 2006 model year." Kia won't get around to a meaningful update until the 2012 model year, under the company's current plans, so that's unlikely to improve anytime soon. Those shopping in the sub-$12,000 range have limited options, but before putting down money on a Rio, you might want to look at the Nissan Versa. It holds its value better, and offers a spacious interior and surprisingly comfortable seating on a tight budget.
Angular Rear Exterior View - 2007 Kia Rondo 4-door V6 Auto EXEnlarge Photo
The unusual Rondo offers a lot of space in a small footprint, and for a bargain price -- but not much else. There is, however, a better choice winner in the Rondo's unusual proto-minivan category -- the spacious, fun-to-drive Mazda5. It nearly matches the Rondo's price, and outclasses it in every way, including resale value.