Kia has come a long way in recent times, and this Rio impresses as a more sophisticated and capable car than past models. Its ride and handling would not disgrace a larger and much more expensive car.
Ride and Handling
Kia has come a long way in recent times, and this Rio impresses as a more sophisticated and capable car than past models. Its ride and handling would not disgrace a larger and much more expensive car. The Rio has the same basic chassis as the well-regarded Hyundai i20, and the handling feels competent and secure, making it an agreeable car to drive on a fast country road. It cannot match, though, the benchmark standard for this size of car, set by the rival Ford Fiesta. The new Rio is much more pert and crisp in its responses than the old model, but it is not as precise and dynamic as the class-leading Fiesta.
The ride is pretty well cushioned and mostly comfortable, untroubled by minor undulations although subject to quite a sharp thump if you drop a wheel into one of the more severe potholes that pockmark so many roads. You get pretty good feedback from the steering, which feels reasonably direct, but again falls short of being best-in-class.
Considering its budget price, though, the Rio is a pretty convincing package with brisk, mannerly behaviour and long-legged feel that belies its relatively modest size.
Ease of Use
Although it is only 55 mm longer than the previous model, the new Rio is more cleverly packaged so it seems quite a bit bigger and has a more spacious feel. It is easy to get into and out of via decently sized doors. Good passenger room has not been achieved at the expense of luggage space, because the boot is seven per cent larger than previously and can accommodate 288 litres of luggage. An extra 10 cm has been shoehorned into the boot's width. The boot sill is a little higher than some, but the tailgate opens on a boot floor that is flat and well-shaped with minimal intrusions.
All Rio models come with a standard split-fold rear seatback, and this lets you stow the seats and extend the luggage capacity to a maximum of 923 litres with only two people on board.
A standard gearshift indicator on the dashboard is a useful aid to maximising the car's fuel economy by encouraging gear changing at the points which optimise mpg.
Comfort and Refinement
Nicely contoured, huggily comfy front seats and better-than-average rear seat supportiveness make the Rio a comfortable car to be in. The relatively high driving position gives a good viewpoint and the light airy cabin achieves a pleasant ambience. By normal supermini standards the Rio feels surprisingly roomy. Rear seat passengers are less cramped than in some of its slightly more modestly sized rivals. Considering that it is a smallish family car, there is very reasonable legroom, headroom elbow space for five people.
Kia Rio Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Kia Rio 1.4 2|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||11.1 Seconds|
|Transmission||5 Speed Manual|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||62.8 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||7 Years / 100,000 Miles|
|Price (when tested on the 11/10/11)||13,095|