1.0 T-GDi 2 DCT
people driving in the real world
have clearly defined requirements
for their cars: topping their lists will
find in one of Kias
five-door hatchback Rio models
with the added bonus of affordable
pricing and the brands
THE LATEST fourth-gen Rio models feature a range of enhancements including
an updated exterior and interior design with 'big car' safety and infotainment
tech and, for manual transmission models, a clever 'clutch-by-wire' transmission
to boost fuel economy (this allows the Rio to automatically coast without you
having to depress the clutch). However, go for the automatic a seven-speed
dual-clutch autobox mated to the sassy 998cc T-GDi version and you'll
consistently see 50+ to the gallon.
Officially the combined figure is 52.3mpg with 61.4 'touring' but a week's hard
driving around Devon's twisty lanes saw us better the official numbers when
we recorded a genuine combined 53.7mpg. Not bad at all and none
of that worrying range anxiety (the 45-litre tank is good for a safe 450 miles).
just because you want to be sensible doesn't mean you have to settle for second
best the Rio's new 'Smartstream' three-cylinder 1.0-litre T-GDi
powerplant is a real honey and one of the nicest three-pots on offer from any
carmaker. This turbocharged direct injection engine comes in two power sizes:
99bhp, and 118bhp with 48-volt mild- hybrid technology. A 1.25-litre petrol
model is also available. Refined and flexible with a nicely progressive throttle
action, the 1.0-litre puts out its punchy 127lb ft of torque smoothly between
1,500 and 4,000rpm, pulling eagerly around the houses and cruising sweetly
hushed, almost on motorways.
the Sport driving
mode (the alternatives
are Eco and Standard)
and youll find the Rio
to be a real cracker,
pulling keenly all the way
to the red-line with a
warble. Darting around
rollercoaster back roads,
slaps a smile on your
face every time it spurts
up a steep winding hill...
Select the Sport driving mode (the alternatives are Eco and Standard) and you'll
find it to be a real cracker, pulling keenly all the way to the red-line with
a signature three-pot warble. Darting around Devon's fiendishly twisty rollercoaster
back roads, the eager-to-please three-pot-powered Rio slaps a smile on your
face every time it spurts up a steep winding hill. For those times when you
might prefer to have the final say over when to shift gear, the seven-speed
autobox also has a manual mode.
Not only is the three-cylinder petrol engine a right little goer but working
it from the driver's seat is particularly pleasing. The dash is cleanly styled
and logically laid out with hi-gloss black air vents at each end and the switchgear
all works as satisfyingly as what you'd get in a more upscale car; set dead
centre is a 'free-standing', hi-gloss black-framed touchscreen underscored by
an AirCon panel with traditional knobs and buttons that are super-easy to use
on the move. Slim-ish windscreen pillars, deep, long side windows, and a decent
driving position make placing the Rio effortless even in the surliest traffic.
Views rearwards are good too; and when reversing there are sensors and a rear-view
camera to make manoeuvring painless.
The lightly bolstered seats are upholstered in a black cloth that will be pleasant
both summer and winter and although '2' trim models don't get adjustable lumbar
the seats do have ample support built in to keep your back and shoulders comfy
come what may. Legroom is excellent and, unexpectedly, there's a full fist of
headroom and that's with the driver's height-adjustable seat ratcheted
up. The smooth, satin black, leather-wrapped wheel also has plenty of adjustment
and feels good in your hands. It also benefits from comprehensive and idiot-proof
multifunction controls. Welcome, too, is the spacious footwell with a well-set
left-foot rest for stress-free two-pedal driving.
For a compact car the Rio is generous when it comes to in-cabin storage
but then its cabin is the most spacious in its class. There's a drop-down overhead
case for your sunglasses, a sliding central armrest between the front seats
capping a deep bin, a good size, lit and damped glovebox, a big, deep front
tray with two USB jacks and a 12v socket ahead of the selector lever, twin cupholders,
plus bottle holders in every door.
comms are now an expected standard fitment and the Rio's new infotainment and
connectivity software is up to speed: intuitive, it works well with handy 'hard'
menu jump buttons and easily-grasped knurled rotary knobs for volume and zoom.
Go for the '3' and 'GT-Line S' trims and SatNav is part of the infotainment
Rio is pretty well
sprung and its
suspension errs on the
softer side, which makes
for a decent ride even on
and even over lumpy,
bumpy tarmac the ride
Get the Rio bowling
along a dual carriageway
or motorway at the legal
limit and it feels smooth
and reassuringly stable
decidedly more big car
Fronted by an eight-inch touchscreen display, '2' trim level models still come
with all the must-haves such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (both with voice
control), Bluetooth with music streaming, DAB radio, six-speaker audio system,
a voice memo function, a reversing camera with dynamic guidelines (rear parking
sensors are fitted as standard), and USB ports.
With their slim chrome bezels, white-on-black dials, and glowing red needles,
the trad-style analogue dials are easy on your eyes. The instrument panel is
completed by a high-res 4.2-inch digital display to show various driver information
including the essential digital road speed readout.
In addition to all the above comms, the '2' trim gives you things like AirCon,
powerfolding heated door mirrors with LED indicators, all-round electric windows
(the driver's has one-shot up/down op), cruise control and speed limiter, tinted
glass, and a set of multi-spoke 15-inch alloy wheels.
Along with all the foregoing you also get plenty of key safety tech, starting
with a full five-star Euro NCAP rating, full suite of airbags and side curtains,
a side impact protection system, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (with city,
pedestrian, and cyclist detection), Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keep Assist,
and Lane Follow Assist. To that you can add Electronic Stability Control & Vehicle
Stability Management, Straight Line Stability and Cornering Brake Control, Brake-Assist,
Bi-function projection headlights, LED daytime running lights, cornering lights,
projection front fog lights, auto lights and wipes, Hill-start Assist, height-adjustable
front belts, seatbelt reminder warning, drive-away auto door locking, welcome
and fellow-me-home lights, and a rear wash/wipe.
Travelling in the back of the Rio is enjoyable. Long, deep side windows make
for an airy ambiance and unrestricted views out and the backrests are set at
a relaxing angle. Headroom is good too and there's decent leg room
more than in some other similar-sized cars along with space ahead
of your knees. Also, thanks to a very minimal central floor hump, a teenager
or smaller adult occupying the middle spot will have ample footroom.
In addition to a pouch on the front passenger seatback, the door pockets hold
a bottle and there's a USB charger port and comfy outer armrests. Those moving
children will be glad of the wide-opening doors and the pre-installed Isofix
child seat mountings on the outer seats and the child safety rear door locks.
A neat touch: tap the Quiet mode soft button on the touchscreen and the radio/media
volume is limited and only heard in the front of the cabin great
for sleeping kids!
Rio is pretty well sprung and its suspension errs on the softer side, which
makes for a decent ride even on second-rate blacktop; and even over lumpy, bumpy
tarmac the ride feels composed. Get the Rio bowling along a dual carriageway
or motorway at the legal limit and it feels smooth and reassuringly stable
decidedly more big car than small. The comfort-orientated 65 profile Michelin
rubber helps too. No complaints are expected from your back seat passengers.
its tiger nose
grille to its tail the
measures a smidgen over
a compact four metres
in addition to
providing ample room
for four adults,
it still manages to offer
a decent size boot thats
bigger than some of its
classmates 325 litres
to be exact. Better still,
with just the front seats
in use, you can fold
down the 60:40-split rear
backrests to open up
a seamless and level-
Riding well doesn't mean the Rio isn't up for some fun even on
twisty country backroads you can press on without any penalties thanks to the
well managed body control, quick steering, and a goodly amount of grip. The
brakes (ventilated discs up front; regular discs at the rear) are powerful with
reassuring feedback from the pedal whenever you need to kill your speed or stop
The Rio measures a smidgen over a compact four metres from its 'tiger nose'-grille
to its tail but, in addition to providing ample room for four adults, it still
manages to offer a decent size boot that's bigger than some of its classmates
325 litres to be exact.
Better still, with just the front seats in use, you can fold down the 60:40-split
rear backrests to open up a seamless and level-floored 1,103-litre loadbay.
In boot mode the Rio's 'hold' is of a regular shape which makes fitting everything
in so much easier; you'll also find bag-hooks to help keep your shopping shipshape
on the drive home from Sainsbugs.
For cargo-carrying duties the rear hatch opens helpfully high and the hassle-free
parcel-shelf luggage cover is quicker to use than most roller-blinds. There's
a handy built-in rigid pocket on one side but the most useful feature is the
two-level floor. In its uppermost position you get hidden underfloor storage;
set lower it adds four inches to the boot height.
Beneath the lower floor you'll find extra storage in the deep spare wheel well
which these days only houses a tyre repair kit. Helpfully, Kia's thoroughness
stretches to providing a proper catch for holding up the boot floor while accessing
the underfloor areas. And some good 'hauling' news: the 99bhp three-pot is gutsy
enough to tow a braked 900kg, which is more than you may have been expecting
and is certainly enough for a trailer loaded with the family's camping gear.
Finding a fuss-free 'everyday' car that appeals to the head, one that won't
break the bank to buy and run but that's practical, easy to drive and pleasant
to live with, is actually far harder than deciding on a £50K model. Kia's £18K
Rio is that rarity a sure thing that will serve you right! ~ MotorBar
Kia Rio 1.0 T-GDi '2' DCT
Maximum speed: 117mph | 0-62mph: 11 seconds | Test Average: 53.7mpg
Power: 99bhp | Torque: 127lb ft | CO2: 123g/km