Kia has well and truly earned a name for themselves as the top brand for modern, affordable and reliable cars and the new Kia Rio is no exception. This week I drove the top of the range Kia Rio SLi hatch and found it to be a perfect fit for a first car: basic yet modern, fitted out with accessories, reliable coming with Kia’s 5 year unlimited kilometre warranty and priced at a reasonable $19,990 for manual.
The Rio comes in a 1.4L and 1.6L petrol engine and I test drove the 1.6L. The Rio was very smooth to drive and did not have a noticeable lag in power producing 103kW of power @ 6,300 rpm and 167Nm of torque @ 4,850 rpm. The 6 speed automatic transmission provides for a smooth drive and even distribution of power in the small car. While driving around town the Rio averaged a fuel consumption of around 8L/100km, which is around average for the small car competitive market.
Kia has combined sleek lines and edgy angles to create an appealing exterior with a chrome grille, 17 inch alloy wheels and rear spoiler that is available in ten varying colours. Once inside the seats are still the basic cloth however the steering wheel and shift knob are upholstered with leather.
The dash clearly displays a multi-function computer with speed, average fuel consumption and distance till empty ready at your finger tips. For convenience the steering wheel is mounted with cruise control and audio controls.
The small car does provide adequate room for four people to comfortably fit, although like many of its competitors, five is a bit of a squeeze. The drivers seat is the only one that is fully adjustable, and the steering wheels is height and reach adjustable, ensuring for a comfortable and safe driving position. The visibility in the Rio is excellent adding yet another feature to safety and aiding its allusion of space in the small car.
Storage is one thing that generally goes astray in this category of cars however the Rio has reasonable boot space, 6 bottle holders and an ample glove box and center console. The 4 speaker audio system has AM/FM radio, is MP3 compatible and has USB and AUX outputs, a must for any p-plate car. The Rio also boasts Bluetooth connectivity across all model variants, a point of difference to some competitors. While it is only a 4 speaker system, the quality of the sound is high and clear.
As I have stressed before, safety is a key issue when it comes to any car, especially for young p-plate drivers. The 2012 Rio is yet to be tested and receive an ANCAP safety rating however it is on board to upgrade from the previous 4 star since 2007 to the maximum 5 star rating. All variants reap the benefits of ABS, EBD, ESC, TCS, a Vehicle Management System, front, side and curtain airbags, seat belt warning lights and chime, impact sensing auto door unlocking system, side door impact beams, front seat belt pretensioners and Hill Start Assist Control. For peace of mind with security, the Rio offers remote keyless entry and anti theft immobiliser.
All up the new Kia Rio is a new and improved version of the already successful car that should be carefully considered by those young people looking for a car that is affordable, reliable, simple yet modern and ready for the fun lifestyle that teenagers lead. Well done Kia, yet again you have proven to be the go-to car for the younger generation.