Kia Rio

The all new Rio is a five door hatchback that has a similar face with piercing headlights flanks the ‘tiger nose’ grille – now finished in glossy black plastic. The new Rio’s body now takes a more conventional hatchback shape compared to the last car’s quirkier outline, and to our eyes it’s pleasing but doesn’t stand out much. It’s a delightful little car that is more spacious than its rivals the Ford Fiesta, the Vauxhall Corsa and the Volkswagen Polo. The Rio is well built, extremely comfortable and is generally hard to fault.  It’s easy to drive thanks to light controls and it’s easy to put the car where you want it. The Rio’s boot is 13 per cent larger than the one in the outgoing model – for a total of 325 litres. This compares favourably to the Polo and Fiesta’s 280 and 276-litre boots respectively.

 

 

Equipment is fairly generous and simply divided across four trim ranges – dubbed 1, 2, 3 and First Edition. All models get air conditioning, front electric windows, Bluetooth connectivity and LED daytime running lights. ‘2’-grade cars get alloy wheels, DAB digital radio, a five-inch infotainment screen, reversing camera and rear parking sensors. ‘3’ adds luxuries such as faux-leather upholstery, a sat nav with a larger infotainment screen, heated seats and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Rio models in ‘2’ trim and above get a touchscreen infotainment system flanked by shortcut buttons. For the most part, the system is fairly easy to use with a fairly logical menu layout, good responsiveness and extensive functionality. ‘3’-trimmed cars have a larger seven-inch screen.

 

 

The Rio comes with a choice of four basic engines – 1.25 and 1.4-litre non-turbo petrols in entry-level models, a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol in 99 and 118hp guises, and a 1.4-litre diesel in 76 and 89hp versions. All are equipped with five or six-speed manual gearboxes while the 1.4-litre petrol can also be fitted with a four-speed automatic. Naturally, the diesels return excellent fuel economy. The best claims to average 80.7mpg while even the more potent version can return 74.3mpg. The 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine is commendable, with better responses and a more satisfying noise than the equivalent fitted to Ford models. Equally, while the build quality is as high as ever, the material quality has been lifted to the top end of the class – an improvement desperately needed over the grey predecessor. Automatic Cars start at £999, too high a price and better deals are avaialble elsewhere.

Autumn Best Buy – Kia Rio ‘2’ 1.0 T-GDi 99bhp 5-speed manual – £199 Advance Payment  (£60.73 wpms)

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