Kia have gone from strength to strength in recent years, and the new Rio is a confident sign of their continued progress. I took a look at the latest 5 door, Rio 1.1 CRDI ‘2’ Eco.
Despite being designed by the man behind the Audi TT, Peter Schreyer, the Rio does lacks a really strong visually identity and is something like a cross between a Ford Focus, and a Vauxhall Corsa. Not that it isn’t a very nice looking ‘supermini’ type car, it’s just hard to find any distinguishing features about it. It has sleek lines and a smart overlook, but despite the latino name, it lacks that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’, to raise any hardcore petrolhead’s temperature.
Inside the Rio is functional, it’s not overly luxurious, nor is it shabby chic. The surfaces, handles and buttons are built to last, and the dials are simple, clear and well designed. The seats are comfy too. Space is tight in the back if you have a tall driver (like me), but younger kids will still have room enough for longer journeys.
The boot has 288 litres of space, which is big enough for the shopping, but you might struggle with the golf clubs. Fold the seats down though and this increases to a quite reasonable 923 litres.
On the Road
The small 1.1 litre diesel engine actually feels much bigger, and unusually for this size of car there is also a six speed gearbox. There are a few extra gear changes, but as a result, really good torque and you’re never lacking for extra power. It’s nippy about town and easy to park, I also did a fair bit of motorway driving, and the Rio was quite happy to cruise along in the fast lane, without any excessive wind noise vibration, wobbling or rattling.
94g/km of CO2 is extremely green, green enough to be exempt from road tax. If you are lucky (or unlucky) enough to live in London you wouldn’t need to worry about Congestion Charges either. In laboratory conditions the car can do 75mpg, and if you tun off the air conditioning that increases to a whopping 88mpg.
In reality you are not going to hit those figures, but the Rio is still exceptional when it comes to fuel consumption and you should be able to consistently reach the high 60’s if you drive it sensibly. There is an indicator on the dials to tell you the optimum moment to change gear, and over time all these factors could save a lot of money. Keep you foot on the floor and the dial will reach 98mpg (158km/h), more than fast enough to get 3 points on your licence.
A seven year warranty is an incredibly attractive selling point when buying a new car. Kia offer this on the Rio, (in fact all of their range is covered). The price is also very competitive, with the 5 door Rio 1.1 CRDI ‘2’ Eco £13,195.00 OTR, and the slightly lower spec ‘1’ edition, £12,095.00. Go for the petrol version and you will get change from £10,000.
It’s hard to imaging people drooling over the Rio in a car museum in 80 years time, but in terms of functionality, practicality and extremely low running costs, it’s one of the best ‘sensible’ cars I have driven.
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