Kia Rio ‘3’ T-GD1 review.
For – smart, well made, many high-tech gizmos, 7-year guarantee.
Against – no bargain.
MARLOW, Bucks – The new Kia Rio looks good, is exceptionally well equipped and oozes quality, but because of all that, it is no longer in the bargain basement.
The competition in this small car sector is intense. I found 15 very nice motors competing with the Rio, including the Ford Fiesta, VW Polo, Mazda 2, cheaper Minis, Renault Clio, Hyundai i20, Honda Jazz, Peugeot 208, Vauxhall Corsa, Suzuki Swift, Dacia Sandero, SEAT Ibiza, Skoda Fabia, Fiat Punto, and the Toyota Yaris. My favourite is still the Honda Jazz, but the Kia’s 7-year year warranty will be a game changer for many.
Kia of Korea has been moving relentlessly upmarket right across its range and as soon as you make the mental note that, wow, isn’t the interior beautiful and well put together, then you’ll look at the price and be less surprised.
But prices do start at a fairly attractive £11,995, and even the base models are very well equipped. Prices peak out at £17,445 for the Rio First Edition.
Mind you, for that top price, you’ll get a car that is exceptionally well equipped and is now available only with 5 doors. The new range has high-tech new engines with improved fuel efficiency. The body has more interior space and exterior style with state-of-the-art connectivity and driver assistance systems.
Eager, smooth diesel
The versions I drove – this one, a slightly more powerful petrol powered one and a diesel – all handled well and rode the third world potholed roads around Marlow very well. The 98 hp version had a 5-speed gearbox and nipped along nicely, but not surprisingly needed the gearbox to be worked a bit. The diesel version felt the most eager, smooth and quiet.
Is it still legal to express positive thoughts about diesels?
There are 10 versions in three trim grades – badged 1, 2 and 3 in familiar Kia style – with a limited-run First Edition model as the pinnacle of the range, priced at £17,445.
Equipment can be truly luxurious. Even grade 1 has things like air conditioning, front electric windows, remote locking, electrically adjustable heated door mirrors, a 3.8-inch display screen, Bluetooth, and LED daytime running lights. A four-speaker audio system is standard, and there are plenty of computerised safety provisions. Grade 2, priced from £13,745, adds more goodies like electric windows all round, electric folding mirrors with LED indicator lights, a digital DAB radio, a reversing camera and rear parking sensors.
Additional features on Grade 3, which starts at £16,295, include automatic air conditioning, heated front seats, rain-sensing front wipers, and satellite navigation. Naturally at the top end there is Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity and Bluetooth with voice recognition. The First Edition version has bigger wheels, and a smart key entry system.
Driver safety stuff
Kia says the new Rio is the first car in its class with Autonomous Emergency Braking as part of Kia’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). It also features a Lane Departure Warning system. Both are standard from grade 2 upwards and optional with grade 1.
This 4th generation Rio has a longer wheelbase, bonnet and front overhang, a lower roofline and a more upright and more compact back end. 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol direct-injection engines are offered in the Rio for the first time and head a seven-strong powertrain line-up. There are also revised versions of Kia’s 1.25-litre and 1.4-litre petrol engines, and two versions of the 1.4-litre diesel. The 1.0-litre engine is available with either 98 or 117 hp. Fuel economy claims are likely to be wildly optimistic. Manual versions have 5 or 6 speed gearboxes. There is a four-speed automatic gearbox option on some versions. Performance will be adequate, but nobody in this small family car sector will waste any time wondering about acceleration.
And for the piece of resistance – in common with all Kias, the Rio comes with the best warranty in the business – seven-years or 100,000-mile.
(Kia provided hotel, train fare)
|Kia Rio ‘3’ T-GD1|
|Engine:||998 cc 3-cylinder direct injection turbocharged|
|Power:||98 hp @ 4,500 rpm|
|Torque:||171 Nm @ 1,500-4,000|
|Gearbox:||5 speed manual|
|Acceleration:||0-60 mph-100 km/h 10.3 seconds|
|Top Speed:||115 mph-185 km/h|
|Fuel Consumption:||claimed combined 62.8 mpg|
|Boot capacity:||325/980 litres|
|Competition:||Ford Fiesta, VW Polo, Mazda 2, Mini, Renault Clio, Hyundai i20, Honda Jazz, Peugeot 208, Vauxhall Corsa, Suzuki Swift, Dacia Sandero, SEAT Ibiza, Skoda Fabia, Fiat Punto, Toyota Yaris|
|For:||smart, well made, high-tech gizmos, 7-year guarantee|
|Against:||no bargain basement any more|