Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
At first glance the Rio seems good value when compared with the likes of the Fiesta, Fabia and Clio, thanks to a starting price that matches, or even undercuts, these key rivals. Yet that gets you the least recommendable engine and trim combination, so we’d suggest setting your sights higher - opt for at least a ‘2’ trim in order to get the 1.0-litre engine, although this does push the price up.
All engines offer good economy and all but the 1.4-litre petrol dips below 110g/km of carbon emissions with both diesels under 100g/km. That’s good news whether you’re a private buyer or a company car chooser. We would definitely steer clear of the auto – this has carbon emissions of 140g/km, a figure that you would expect from a much larger or faster car.
Insurance costs are broadly competitive, as is the Rio’s servicing costs.
Equipment, options and extras
You get plenty of equipment, even on the most basic of Rios. Opt for ‘1’ grade, and you get air-con, front electric windows, heated electric door mirrors, Bluetooth, auto lights and a multi-function steering wheel. Move up to ‘2’ and you get alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel and gear knob, rear electric windows, electric folding mirrors, rear parking sensors, a six-speaker stereo with DAB radio, cruise control and automatic emergency city braking.
At the top of the ‘normal’ trims is ‘3’. This adds bigger alloys, climate control, faux leather seats that are heated up front, a heated steering wheel, auto wipers and a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and sat-nav. There’s also a limited-run First Edition that comes with a 118bhp version of the 1.0-litre petrol engine, keyless entry and go, 17in wheels, stainless steel pedals and LED rear lights.
It’s just a shame that while ‘2’ has almost everything you really need, the only option available is snazzy paint finishes and not the upgraded infotainment system, with modern smartphone connectivity and sat-nav, that’s only available on the expensive ‘3’ trim.
As the new Rio is, well, new, we can’t comment on how reliable it is. What we can say is that Kia as a whole finished 18th out of 37 manufacturers in our last reliability survey, beating the likes of Volkswagen, Renault and Mini, but below sister brand Hyundai. Should things go wrong with your Rio, you do at least have the piece of mind that the warranty is an industry-leading seven years or 100,000 miles. If you sell within this period, you can’t transfer it to the next owner, too.
Safety and security
The entry-level 1 trim gets only a three-star Euro NCAP rating. That’s because it is the only Rio that doesn’t include automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning. If you opt for the reasonably priced safety pack that adds them, or go for a 2 trim or above, which has those features fitted as standard, then the Rio gets the full five stars from Euro NCAP.
All models get traction and stability control, hill-start assist and six airbags. You also get rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera on 2 models and above to help avoid accidents when reversing.
The Rio’s security isn’t quite so compelling. Experts Thatcham awarded it four stars (out of five) for resisting theft and only three stars for resisting a break-in – both are lower than most rivals’ scores, which is why we've given the Rio four stars in this category.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here