Just been to the launch of the 4th generation Kia Rio, and it comes with a rich history of sales and popularity, in particular its predecessor ,which really did lift the bar for Kia in the B segment. The Rio boasts a record of being the best selling Kia ever, selling 450 000 units globally for the 3rd generation, and that represented 15% of Kia,s sales.
So essentially the latest model has huge shoes to fill, has it done that? According to a few journalists the latest model falls short on a number of points. I have an issue with only one thing, and that is that the engine, with a six-speed transmission, struggled in the thinner air of the Highveld. The overall package, to me hits the spot.
The Rio seems to have grown up a bit, and looks more lean and has more straight lines than the more rounded previous model. The distinctive ‘’tiger nose ‘’ grille is slightly smaller and accents nicely with the new head lamps and have U-shaped LED lights complete the look. The Rio is longer and this gives it a more athletic stance. The rear end is notable as the rear windscreen is almost vertical.
Again the sculpted lamps give a good view & on the high specification models LED taillights with a new arrow-shaped light signature look great. Like the wider looking ‘face’ of the car, the rear design of the new Rio gives the car a stronger overall appearance
Into the Cabin.
The Rio has a modern look inside the cabin, and it looks well set out ergonomically. The infotainment centre has been a focal point here, and it works well with Apple & Andriod systems.The dash is driver focused and that works well.It has usb & Aux ports in the front, and all models have steering wheel operation for ease of use as well as Bluetooth for hands-free. Some models have voice recognition.
The models have cloth upholstery for the lower models and leather for the upper models, they also get a more mod looking gearshift as well. The Rio is comfortable and has very little wind noise. It comes with a lot of spec depending on the model, but be warned the top spec is more expensive than its competitors. It has a 325 L boot as well, so travel should be a breeze.
The Rio comes with two engines, notably the 1.25 L & 1.4 L petrol engines. The 1.25-litre engine produces peak power of 62 kW at 6,000 r/min and 120 Nm torque at 4,000 r/min. The 1.4-litre engine produces 74 kW at 6,300 r/min and 135 Nm torque at 4,200 r/min. This is where we found a slight problem, the 1.4L which we drove was lacking power in 5th and sixth gear, and this would lead to using fuel and straining the engine in due course. It was not comfortable on over taking either.
Safety is well taken care of in the Rio and comes with driver’s and passenger’s airbags (including side and curtain airbags in the TEC model), the new Rio features front seatbelt pre-tensioners with load limiters, side door impact beams front and rear, child locks, and impact sensing door unlocking. ISOFIX child seat anchors are standard across the range, as is Anti-lock Braking System (ABS). The drive of the Rio for me was good, it handles well, with steering on point, so you have a good drive, comfort and a lot of spec.
Rio 1.2 LS Manual R 219,995
Rio 1.4 LX Manual R 234,995
Rio 1.4 EX Manual R 249,995
Rio 1.4 TEC Manual R 274,995
All models are available with an optional automatic transmission for an additional R13,000. A sunroof is available as an option on the Rio TEC for an additional R8,500.
Adding even further value to the KIA Rio package is KIA’s class-leading 5-year / Unlimited Kilometre Warranty, inclusive of 5-years / Unlimited Kilometres Roadside Assistance, as standard, as well as a 4-year / 60,000km Service Plan.
The Kia Rio is at the top end of the B segment, and will find buyers who value good build quality, good spec, a good looking car and comfort. It is also at the top end on price however, and its competitors score on this point.