Test Drive – Kia Rio

The Kia Rio has just been reintroduced into the showrooms. The latest, fourth generation model has evolved with some fresh-looks and more equipment. Although never a mainstream model in the supermini market in the UK, the latest model Rio has come on leaps and bounds since Kia first launched it to the UK market many years ago and is now likely to attract much more interest.

All Rio models are well equipped and even the entry ‘1’ model has air conditioning, electric mirrors, Bluetooth and automatic headlamps fitted as standard. The mid-range ‘2’ version that I have been driving also has alloy wheels, cruise control, a colour touchscreen, DAB stereo and reversing sensors with rear camera. The top specification ‘3’ also adds leather-look seats, automatic wipers, an upgraded touch screen system with satnav and Apple CarPlay.

On first impressions, the Rio is a good-looking car. It’s fairly conservative in design so is never going to stand out from the crowd but this latest version does look fresh and modern. Stepping inside, there’s more interior space than many of its rivals due to its wide dimensions but on first impressions the interior of my Rio 2 was a little disappointing though. Some of the plastic trim on the dashboard, centre console and door cards looked and felt a little cheap but thankfully, in comparison the front seats were well finished, supportive, easy to adjust and were comfy on a long run. The dashboard is also very clear and informative and since the three-spoke multi-multifunction steering wheel is shared with the more expensive Optima model, it looks and feels good so overall the driving position and driver comfort were both impressive.

A choice of petrol and diesel models are offered with the new Rio. Mine was fitted with a new, three-cylinder, 1.0-litre turbo petrol unit. I was surprised how flexible and punchy this little engine was – with 99 horsepower, not only did it accelerate well but it cruised on the motorway with ease.

The Rio’s seven year, 100,000 mile warranty is a real selling point on this model and reflects Kia’s confidence in their cars. The list price of my Rio 2 1.0-T GDi 99bhp model is a competitive £14,545 on the road but is also available to lease from just £135+VAT per month which makes it very good value indeed.