15.12.2012 Kia Rio 1.25 litre petrol review
Deceptively spacious and offering good value for money even before you consider that seven year warranty, Kia’s Rio is a good supermini choice for those who want sensible, honest transport and don’t need to corner with their trousers on fire.
There’s a choice of four engines, but this 1.25 petrol is probably the best of the bunch for most people, though you need to be quick with the gears at times if you get baulked by traffic to keep up momentum. There are diesel versions but they are more expensive, costing from £12,095.
Review by Russell Bray for nextgreencar.com
The entry-level engine is the 1.25 litre petrol four-cylinder also found in Kia’s smallest car, the Picanto. This engine develops 83 bhp at 6,000 rpm and 89 lbs ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. It sounds quite gruff when you work it, and gets a bit breathless despite four valves per cylinder. Acceleration to 60mph takes a pedestrian 12.6 seconds as long gearing (to improve official fuel figures) in the five-speed gearbox blunts everyday performance. Lightly laden, motorway inclines are coped with well, but a Ford Fiesta is a sprightlier drive overall. Top speed 104 mph.
Kia’s cars have come on greatly over the years in dynamic terms, and while the Rio hasn’t the subtleties and precision of Europe’s best, it feels a safer and, indeed, larger car than it actually is. Yes, it rides firmly but positively so you always know what kind of surface you are going over and general stability and grip are not issues. The steering is not the most informative in terms of feedback to driver actions.
The Rio is a good looker, much more European than its predecessor and has a clean, modern style with a ‘pinched’ grille and flowing headlights that will tempt buyers as much as Kia’s usual reputation for value for money, good equipment levels and that unbeatable seven-year warranty. While rival Renault has abandoned three-door superminis in its new Clio line-up, Kia has gone in the opposite direction and now offers five and three-door versions. Longer, wider and lower than the model it replaces, Kia has increased rear seat space by increasing the wheelbase by 70 mm. The load area is stepped with rear seats folded. Length 4045 mm. Width 1720 mm
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Because the Rio is among the more spacious ‘superminis,’ it’s easier to get comfortable than in some rivals. There’s a good range of seat and steering wheel movement and ample head and shoulder room even if you are tall. Though it would be better if the seat backrest wasn’t stepped and there was more lumbar support. Some of the cabin plastics are obviously quite hard/cheap looking but certainly will be serviceable in use and long lived. The high boot sill is awkward with heavy bags, but a good size (288 litres). The rear seat splits 60/40 when they fold but do not drop completely flat.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Official fuel consumption figures are 44.8 mpg round town to 55.4 mpg on the combined cycle. During a week’s mixed motoring the Rio averaged 38 to 52 mpg. A colleague with a 1.1 diesel model, who normally cruises motorways at 85 mph returned only 48.7 mpg over a week – which tells you everything. Carbon dioxide emissions of 119g/km put the Rio 1.25 petrol in VED band C making it exempt from first year road tax and then £30 annually. Insurance is group five compared to nine and upwards for an Audi A1 for example. Impressive warranty is seven years/ 100,000 miles.
Not the most obvious, but a seven-year warranty (excluding wear and tear items) should encourage a long life for the Rio so spreading the energy, CO2 created and materials used in its production over a long period. Built at Kia’s modernised Sohari factory, near Seoul, Korea, the company says less than 2% of the car’s lifetime CO2 emissions occur during production. Because of costs, which do not always provide a tax benefit for the car buyer, Kia’s EcoDynamics technologies are only available with (more expensive) diesel engines. Weight management means the new Rio is no heavier than its predecessor, despite an increase in size and a significantly higher specification across the range. CO2 emissions of 119g/km are good although far from class leading in the supermini category.
Level 1 models get height adjustable driver’s seat, do without air-conditioning, which seems a mistake and ride on 15in diameter steel wheels while level 2 versions get a/c, a cooled glove box, central locking, 16in alloy wheels, front fog lights, electric windows front and rear, electric mirrors and USB/Aux in sockets. Seating is plusher black cloth, the steering wheel and gear knob are leather trimmed and there’s an armrest on top of the centre console between the seats. Top-spec Rio 3 versions get daytime running lights, climate control, reversing sensors and cruise control. Radio and controls for your Bluetooth linked mobile phone can be worked from the steering wheel. Metallic paint is an extra £425.
Model tested: Kia Rio 1.25 petrol 2
Engine/CO2: 84bhp 1248cc 4-cyl petrol / 119 gCO2/km
Trim grades: 1, 2, 3
On-road price: From £9,995 Test car (inc. options) £11,895
Warranty: Seven years/ 100,000 miles
In the showroom: Available now
Review rating: 3.5 STARS
More info about the Kia Rio range »
Post a commentReturn to top
blog comments powered by Disqus