What Car? says...
Look back at the history of the Kia Rio and you’ll find a car that always offered plenty of room at a very keen price, but one that never particularly stood out for its sparkle or desirability. For a car that competed in the packed, competitive small car class, it fell short on must-buy magic.
Fittingly, for the fourth generation of Rio, Kia took strides to sort that out. A new platform and turbocharged engines were employed in pursuit of improvements to both interior practicality driving appeal. In fact, so thorough was the Rio's redesign that you’re far more likely to remember the name than the design.
To keep things in line with other models in Kia’s line-up, a sleek grille graces the front end, and compared with previous generations the Rio’s front bumper is lower and wider than before, while a further update for 2021 brought a number of new wheel and colour options.
New safety kit was added too, along with 48v mild-hybrid engine technology and a clever ‘iMT’ electric clutch that aims to make the Rio more efficient (we’ll cover this in more detail this later on in the review). And, of course, the Rio comes with Kia’s class-leading seven-year warranty.
So, is all this enough to transform the Kia Rio from also-ran to world-beating small car? And can it really get the better of such stalwarts as the sharp-handling Ford Fiesta, plush Volkswagen Polo or keenly priced Skoda Fabia? That’s what we’ll be exploring, in great detail, in this review.
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