The Kia Rio sits in the jam-packed supermini segment and there is a lot of competition from some very good cars. The Rio is up against the Peugeot 208, the fun Skoda Fabia, the popular Volkswagen Polo, the Hyundai i20, the Mazda2 and the king of the superminis, the Ford Fiesta. However, Kia has been fitting themselves into every segment that it provides for and it will always offer good competition. One thing that they definitely have on their side is the brand’s seven year warranty.
Kia Ireland has made one diesel and one petrol engine available to our market. Both are very economical and both are cheap to run. The petrol offering is a 1.25 litre engine with a manual transmission. It’s a lively offering but we’ve been told 1.4 litre CRDi diesel engine has a little more higher-end power.
On-paper we’re told that the 1.25 litre engine offers 121Nm of torque at 4,000rpm, whereas the 1.4 litre engine offers a more powerful 220Nm at between 1,750 and 2,750rpm. The petrol offers 0-100 km/h in 13.4 seconds and a top speed of 167 km/h, whereas the diesel offers 13.9 and a top speed of 172 km/h.
On the downside, the steering of the Rio is vague and doesn’t offer the feedback that you’d get from the likes of the Fabia, the Fiesta or the Polo. It corners well and it doesn’t suffer from body roll because it grips the road tightly. Unlike the Picanto, the suspension in the Rio is firm and it doesn’t deal brilliantly with bumps in the road.
From what we understand, the petrol engine is the quieter of the two engines. The diesel offering is said to be very loud when put under pressure. The petrol does make some noise when pushed to motorway speeds but once you start to evenly cruise, things quieten down. There is a fair bit of wind and road noise that gets into the cabin too.
Kia interiors are generally made from quality and sturdy materials - the Rio is no different. The interior is nicely laid out. The infotainment system is easy to use and everything is within easy reach of the driver. The seats to the front and rear are comfortable. There are two trims available to our market, L and EX. As standard on both trims are body coloured bumpers, door mirrors & handles, black cloth upholstery, centre armrest, USB & Bluetooth connectivity, and steering wheel mounted controls.
Kia scored a full five stars in the Euro NCAP safety tests. Their highest scoring was achieved in the adult occupancy category where they received an excellent 92%. For child occupancy they achieved 84%. However, they scored a very low 46% on pedestrian safety. The interior car is well surrounded by airbags. Apart from a high NCAP rating, one thing that tells you how reliable Kia’s vehicles are is the fact that they offer a seven year warranty with all of their new cars. This is hard to beat.
We’re not sure how Kia does it but somehow they manage to make small cars feel relatively big. The Rio feels very spacious to the front and the rear. Two adults would comfortably get into the back seats and the front space is perfect. The boot area offers 288 litres which would be average in comparison with it competition.