The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
The driver’s seat in the Kia Rio has plenty of adjustment, and, factor in the extensive rake and reach steering wheel movement and you should find it easy to get comfy, no matter what your shape.
Adjustable lumbar support isn’t available, but this omission isn’t uncommon in small cars and the seat itself gives decent lower back support. The gearstick falls easily to hand and all the main controls are well-positioned and easy to operate on the go.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
Thanks to relatively slim front pillars, forward visibility is good, even when pulling out of awkward junctions. You also get a good view out of the side windows, due to a window line that stays quite level along the length of the car, instead of sweeping upward like it does on some rivals.
The rear view is less impressive – the rear window is rounded at the sides and the rear pillars are broad, making reversing tricky. Thankfully, all bar base ‘1’ models get reversing sensors and a rear-view camera as standard.
Sat nav and infotainment
Entry-level grade ‘1’ models get a small 3.8in monochrome infotainment display that we suspect will be hard to read on the move. On all other trims, this is upgraded to an 8.0in colour touchscreen system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the capability to connect up to two mobile devices at the same time – one for hands-free phone and multimedia use, and the other for media use only.
There are physical shortcut buttons under the touchscreen, so you can jump quickly between radio and navigation, for example, and the infotainment menus on both systems are clear and responsive. Top-spec '3' and GT-Line S trims improve the infotainment system further by adding in-built satellite navigation.
Entry-level grade ‘1’ Rio’s get a basic four-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, a DAB radio and USB and aux connections in the front, while stepping up to grade ‘2’ nets you a more powerful six-speaker sound system and an additional USB charging port in the back – handy for keeping passengers happy.
With value being such a big part of the Rio’s mission, it’s no surprise that you won’t find acres of soft-touch materials or premium trim pieces. With the exception of a soft dash pad, all of the interior plastics are hard to the touch.
Although there’s nothing wrong with such durable materials, the door trims look slightly cheap with their scratchy, shiny finish. The Skoda Fabia proves that even the hard stuff can be made to look appealing. That said, the Rio certainly feels built to last and the switches feel nicely damped when you operate them.
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