The popularity of Kia vehicles are growing rapidly in this country and Kia was looking to expand that popularity when it released the new Rio earlier on this year.
Having driven the previous model I was very keen to see the improvements that Kia had made with the new model.
The Rio looks great on the outside and benefits from a chrome “Schreyer” grille surround, black grille cover that extends to the head lights complete with DRL’s, 15 inch alloy wheels and a rear lip spoiler.
Kia has done a lot of work on the interior of the new model and it shows as the Rio’s interior is improved over the previous model, there is still a lot of hard plastics but you expect that in this price range but I really like the look and feel of the interior. The premium steering wheel, shift knob and the use of high gloss black trim accents a metallic finish dash fascia and satin silver accents on the steering wheel and door handles gives the interior a more inviting feel.
The Rio is larger than the previous generation and it shows on the inside with improved interior space, the seats are rather comfortable to sit in but could use a little more support. Rear seat has enough head and leg room for 2 adults. There is plenty of storage space with 4 bottle holders in the doors, twin cup holders in the front, map holders in the front doors and a large tray at the bottom of the centre stack which is ideal for your smart phone and perfectly placed next to the fast charging USB port, boot space is decent at 320L which expands to 980L with the rear seats folded..
Tech levels and connectivity have improved tenfold over the previous model with the addition of a 7inch touch screen, apple carplay, android auto capabilities and satnav with suna live traffic updates. The infotainment system is one of the best in class and extremely easy to use.
Android auto basically mirrors your smart phone meaning you can put your phone in the console or glove box and concentrate on driving like you should be doing. I used it a lot during the week and found it not only easy to use but the system was exceptionally easy to connect my phone too.
If you don’t use car play or auto don’t worry you can still live stream music via Bluetooth which still meant I was able to listen to spotify without an issue. The Satnav system with live traffic updates is not only easy to use but very welcoming on a car in this price range.
With only 74kw and 130Nm from the 1.4L 4cyl engine under the bonnet the Rio struggled a little bit on my commute specially with starting from the lights at the bottom of some of the hills. This wasn’t helped by the fact it only has a 4 speed auto transmission which made it a bit frustrating to at times as it seemed like there was a bit of a flat spot in between 3 and 4th gear this car is really screaming out for more gears.
While it returns decent economy on the freeway the little engine does have to work a little more thanks once again to the 4 speed auto with the engine sitting on 2500rpm at 100kph.
On my commute it did struggle a little with the constant 0-70kph and 0-80kph accelerating and I managed just over 9L/100km for the week.
The Rio’s has benefited from Kia’s ongoing local suspension tuning program and while I found the suspension sprung a touch on the stiff side so it did ride a little firmer than other cars in its class that I had driven. In saying that while you do fell some of the bumps there was no bang or crashiness transmitting into the cabin and in no was it ever put off line or disturbed by the them.
The plus side to this was the handling rather good indeed with barely any lean in the corners, the steering however while feeling rather neutral and improved over the old model although I would have liked more sharpness. While it’s a small car the light makes it even easier to park.
I get the feeling from it that the Rio is under powered for the chassis and could easily take extra kw’s under the bonnet. I am hoping the Rio also cops the GT-line treatment in the future.
Safety wise the Rio comes standard with 6 airbags, abs brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, emergency brake assist, electronic stability control with traction control, vehicle stability management system and hill start assist, 3 child restraint anchor points in the rear 2 of which are ISOFIX.
It gets full points for having rear parking sensors and gets bonus points for the standard fit rearview camera.
Kia has made a lot of improvements to the Rio over the previous model and it’s more mature looks on the outside combined with a more inviting and comfortable interior, improved ride and handling and the one of the best infotainment system in it’s class. The only thing that lets it down a little is the carry over 1.4L 4cyl engine and 4 speed auto (it needs more gears). But the good thing about that is at least it doesn’t have a woeful CVT like a lot of it’s competitors.
The Rio does shape up as idea car for somebody that’s after small run around or something comfortable to and decent enough on petrol to commute to work in. I’m sure that you can achieve better fuel figures than I did but my commute seems to favour cars with bigger engines and/or more torque.
It’s size and light steering makes it a dream to wheel around tight inner city car parks.
The Rio’s pricing makes it ideal for someone after their first car or a 2nd car for the family and you get the added peace of mind of Kia’s 7 year warranty.
For more info on the Rio or the rest of Kia’s range check out their website www.kia.com.au or head on down to your local Kia dealer.
Kia Rio Si
Engine: 1.4L MPi 4 cylinder 74kW 130Nm
Transmission: 4 speed auto
7 year unlimited km warranty, capped price servicing.
1yr or 15,000km $226, 2yrs or 30,000km $382, 3yrs or 45,000km $277, 4yrs or 60,000km $561, 5yrs or 75,000km $255, 6yrs or 90,000 $470, 7yrs or 105,000km $270. Total cost for 7 years $2441.
Chrome ‘Schreyer’ grille surround, Body coloured bumpers, Body coloured door handles, Body coloured outside mirrors, Electric outside mirrors, Mirror integrated indicators, Heated & electric folding outside door mirrors.
Rear lip spoiler, Cruise control with steering wheel mounted controls, Premium steering wheel & gear shifter.
Power windows, Driver’s window auto up/down, Metallic finish dash fascia, Satin silver interior trim, Black high-gloss trim accents.
7″ colour LCD touch screen with MP3 compatible audio player and AM/FM tuner, Satellite navigation with traffic information (SUNA™) and DAB+, 6 speakers (front doors, rear doors & front tweeters), Bluetooth® connectivity (phone/address book/media stream), AUX/USB input with iPod® compatibility (on selected iPod® models), Android Auto,