What is it? This Kia Rio model is the cheapest version you can buy.
The 1.25-litre petrol engine is the same as the one in the Picanto city car, producing 83bhp. Average fuel economy ranges from 55.4 to 56.5mpg, depending on trim, while CO2 emissions are as low as 114gkm.
What’s it like to drive? Around town, the steering is light enough to make parking and low-speed direction changes easy. Unfortunately, the steering is slow to respond and short on feel: a Ford Fiesta’s steering is far more reassuring.
The Rio’s engine is rather disappointing, too. You have to work it hard to keep up with traffic on faster roads, and progress is sluggish around town if you let the revs drop below 2500rpm.
Moving off from standstill through to second gear can be jerky and the low-speed ride is pretty firm. As a car that may spend a lot of its time in an urban environment, these are black marks against the Rio.
It’s a shame, because in many ways the Rio is impressively refined, with wind and road noise particularly well suppressed.
What’s it like inside? The Rio’s cabin isn’t as classy as a Volkswagen Polo’s, but a combination of soft-touch plastics and quality switches give it plenty of appeal.
Rear legroom is a little tight, but the driver and front passenger get plenty of space and, at 288 litres, boot space is more than adequate.
Six airbags, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB audio connection and steering wheel-mounted stereo controls are standard across all trims, too, but the entry-level model doesn’t get air-conditioning.
Should I buy one? The Rio 1.25 is a decent car, but as a budget-price option, the Hyundai i20 is a better choice, thanks to a lower entry price (for models with air-conditioning as standard). Alternatively, an equivalent Ford Fiesta is much better to drive and, after showroom discounts, will cost much the same as the Rio.
What Car? says…
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