Kia is obviously thinking of the UK market – red, white and blue are the colours available on the all-new B-segment Rio. OK, there’s grey as well to match the weather.
Tom Scanlan a long way from Rio drives the enjoyable All-New Kia Rio in Oxfordshire
This is the fourth generation Rio and it has evolved to being on a longer wheelbase and is lower than its immediate predecessor, but there is good headroom and a decent boot. It is offered as a five-door car only, and, as long as those in the front don’t set their seats back too far, then there is also reasonable room in the back for two adults.
The most obvious feature of the new design is the very different front end.
Driver-aid technology has come on in leaps and bounds, especially in the most expensive versions, of course.
Pricing starts at £11,995 for the 83 bhp 1.25-litre petrol car with the five-speed gearbox.
On offer for first impressions at the Rio’s British launch were three derivatives out of the ten sorts that can be ordered: seven power trains, one automatic, and three trim levels, plus the range-topping ‘First Edition’ that will be produced for a limited period and that costs £17,445.
This car has the 3-cylinder 118 bhp engine mated to a six-speed gearbox. It proved to be very lively and fun to drive. Kia’s six-speed gearbox is a delight to use, needing hardly more than a gentle touch for each slick, quick gear change, with a perfectly-weighted clutch.
Driven hard, the exhaust delivers a satisfyingly sporty note; driving gently, there is still a just-discernible three-cylinder thrum. I achieved an indicated 40 mpg out of this car.
The other petrol car driven was the 1.0 T-GDi with 99 bhp and a five-speed gearbox. Fuel consumption for this car was 39.1 mpg over a very similar route.
The £17,245 ‘3’ diesel 1.4 CRDi was in its more powerful form, 89 bhp (with a 76 bhp diesel also available in the lower trim levels,’1′ or ‘2’ as opposed to ‘3’, and costing £13,495 and £15,245 respectively)…got it?!
Each diesel has that super six-speed gearbox.
So much work has been put into diesel development that, if it wanted, Kia could claim that there is virtually no difference in refinement between diesel and petrol performance in terms of NVH (noise, vibration and harshness). Even at low speeds, when diesels have long given the game away with their typical ‘clatter’, this Kia proves just what can now be achieved. A relaxed ninety-mile drive in varying traffic conditions produced an indicated 53.1 mpg; with the bigger 45-litre fuel tank, this would mean a range comfortably more than five hundred miles. The diesel engine emits less than the 100 g/km tax cut-off.
All the models tested were comfortable to sit in, on ‘faux’ leather, pleasant to drive and fun for the sportier types. Yes, zero to sixty times would not set the tarmac alight (fastest 9.8 seconds to 62 mph; slowest 13.5 seconds), but for all intents and purposes, they all proved entirely competent for climbing steep hills or overtaking trucks on motorways. Of course, the less powerful engines meant using the gearbox…which has already been mentioned as being a pleasure in itself.
On the inside, the All-New Kia Rio is very well built and neatly styled, the ‘First Edition’ having a dash console colour-coded to the exterior red.
Connectivity is now very much part of the industry ‘B’ segment market battle. Kia is right up there with their new Rio.
Comfort and convenience features abound, with even the ‘1’s having air conditioning, heated mirrors, electric front windows, remote locking, cornering lights, a 3.8-inch display screen, steering-wheel audio controls, hill start assist and more. Up in the ‘3’ range, you even get a heated steering wheel.
Even more, is enhanced or added as you progress up the range (with the bonus of a heated steering wheel as part of the ‘3’ trim). The new Rio is suitable for quite a wide variety of bank balances and certainly makes a very competitive proposition in this sector…and Kia is still unique with their seven-year warranty.
All in all, very favourable first impressions. The Rio First Edition is available now.
Car reviewed: All-New Kia Rio 1.0 T-GDi First Edition – Price as tested £17,445 0-62mph 9.8 secs Top speed 118mph Fuel Economy combined 60.1mpg CO2 emissions 107g/km Engine 1.0 litre 3-cylinder Petrol Max Power 118hp Torque 171Nm Transmission 6-speed Manual
Well specced package
Fun, sporty engine
No spare wheel