The fourth-generation Kia Rio, which was previewed at the Paris Motor Show last October, goes on sale here soon. I travelled to Portugal to get a first drive.
It is larger and more spacious than the previous model. It has a re-worked suspension and a new steering which translates in to better drivability, and the new styling has a more mature and polished appearance. it has a longer wheelbase, bonnet and front overhang, a lower roofline and a more upright and more compact back end.
Detailing inside and out has been designed to emphasise the car’s interior space and its stability on the road. The increased leg and shoulder room are among the best in class, as is headroom, despite the lower roofline. A further benefit from the new proportions is increased boot capacity, up by almost 13 per cent to 325 litres, while the fuel tank is also larger at 45 litres.
The horizontal theme evident in the exterior styling is repeated in the cabin, emphasising width and space while separating the upper information and lower control areas. The touch-screens have allowed the number of buttons and switches to be reduced, giving a neater look and greater functionality. The Rio is the first car in class with USB ports front and rear, so that mobile devices can be charged from any seat.
In line with customer demand, Kia says that the Rio will now be sold as a five-door model only. All Rio’s will have six airbags and a space saver spare wheel/tyre as standard. And depending on the model, the new Rio is available in a choice of seven exterior colours. The new Rio will priced from around €16,000 for the ‘L’ spec 1.2 litre petrol version. This version delivers 84 bhp, fuel economy of 4.8l/100km or 59 mpg, CO2 of 106g/km, which slots in to the €190 road tax bracket.
Staying on petrol the next model specification upwards is an ‘EX’ at around €18,250 and that includes 16 inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, manual air conditioning, cruise control and rear parking sensors.
After the EX comes the ‘ADAS’ model at around €19.500, with the top of the range Platinum expected to slot-in at over €20,000.
The Rio Diesel LX and EX models will come at circa €18,000 and €20,000 respectively. And interestingly, Kia’s Rio diesel sales are high compared with the segment average. The lower powered LX diesel delivers 76 bhp, fuel economy of 3.5l/100km or 80.7mpg, CO2 of 92g/km, which attracts €180 road tax annually. The more powerful 90bhp 1.4-litre diesel, which drove really well offer fuel economy of 3.8l/100km or 74.3mpg, CO2 of 98g/km, which again is €180 road tax annually.
The fuel economy champion of the new Rio range is the lesser-powered, 76 bhp 1.4-litre diesel, a new option in Rio. Both 1.4-litre diesels have a healthy 240Nm of torque, while fuel consumption figures are 80.7 and 74.3mpg. The 240Nm of torque is available from just 1,500rpm, giving sprightly acceleration from 0-60mph in either 13.5 or 11.6 seconds, with top speeds of more than 100mph.
There will be also be a new 1.0-litre 3 cylinder turbo petrol (T-GDi) engine available later (already an option with the cee’d range), possibly with a choice of either 99 or 118bhp, and in both cases with 171Nm of torque across a wide rev band, starting at only 1,500rpm, for effortless drivability. The lesser-powered version has fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of 4.5l/100km or 62.8mpg and CO2 of102g/km, while the sparkling 118bhp version is not far behind, with 4.7l/100km or 60.1mpg and 107g/km. CO2. Both attract annual road tax of €190 and are also capable of more than 50mpg in city driving. The respective 0-60mph acceleration times are 10.3 and 9.8 seconds, and both versions have a top speed of at least 115mph.
The new engines showcase Kia’s advanced engine technology capabilities through downsizing, turbocharging, direct fuel injection and weight reduction, and feature a number of detailed engineering solutions to minimise throttle lag – the delay between the driver pressing the accelerator and the turbocharger delivering boost, and reduce internal friction.
New petrol Rio’s will have 5-speed gearboxes, while the diesel versions of the Rio have 6 speed transmissions.
A stiffer body shell, due to more advanced high-strength steel being used
enhance comfort and driver enjoyment. The reworked suspension and new steering contribute to more immediate handling responses.
The new Rio is the first car in its class to offer the option of Autonomous Emergency Braking as part of Kia’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). It also features a Lane Departure Warning system. Both are optional from entry level upwards and should be standard on higher spec grades. And, in an increasingly connected world, the Rio now offers the Kia Connected Services option powered by TomTom and featuring Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration.
The average supermini buyer in Ireland is more interested in price, economy, and styling than performance. The new Kia ticks those boxes and is deserving of your attention if you are in the market for a supermini.
With high-tech new engines, improved fuel efficiency and emissions, a more mature driving experience, greater space and style and the introduction of state-of-the-art connectivity and driver assistance systems for the first time, the latest Rio is the small car grown up.