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New Kia Rio prices and specs revealed

Kia's Ford Fiesta rival is now on sale in the UK, and claims to offer class-leading practicality for families

Words ByDarren Moss

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Kia Rio

The new Kia Rio hatchback, which made its debut at the Paris motor show late last year, is priced from Β£11,995 – making it over Β£1000 more expensive than the old car.

What is it?

The Rio is Kia’s supermini, and competes with a vast array of rivals including the Ford Fiesta, Skoda Fabia and Volkswagen Polo to name just three in a hotly contested class.

Although we don't rate the current Rio very highly, the car's low price, reasonable running costs and Kia's seven-year warranty make it worth considering. Those strong points from the current car all carry over to the all-new one.

As part of a rethink of the rest of the Rio, Kia has given the supermini a higher quality and more spacious interior, driving dynamics which are claimed to be much improved, greater equipment levels, improved safety, and a new three-cylinder petrol engine. There’s also a smart, if not exciting, new look, with one notable feature slimmer front pillars to improve forward and side visibility for the driver.

The wheelbase of the Rio has increased marginally over the current car to allow for the extra cabin space, while the length has also increased to improve boot capacity. The car is the same width and a touch lower than the current model. Kia has also axed the three-door model from the new Rio range, meaning it will be five-door only with this new model.

What engines can I choose from?

There are four engines to choose from in the new Rio range. The new engine to the range is a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol unit with either 99bhp or 118bhp. A five-speed manual gearbox is fitted to the lower-powered model and a six-speed manual to the more powerful one.

There are two other four-cylinder petrols to choose from which are carried over from the current car: an 84bhp 1.25-litre and a 99bhp 1.4-litre. The former engine gets the five-speed gearbox and the latter the six-speed.

Kia is also offering a 1.4-litre diesel on the Rio, and with CO2 emissions of 92g/km it's the most efficient model in the range. The engine has a choice of two power outputs: 76bhp or 89bhp.

There are no plans for Kia to launch a more performance-orientated version of the Rio to rival hot hatches like the VW Polo GTI.

What's it like inside?

The interior is where Kia has made the biggest improvements to the Rio. The perceived quality has been improved, and the design and usability compares favourably to rival models in the segment, on static inspection at least.

The focal point of the interior , which can be specced in cloth or faux leather trim, is a new 7in β€˜floating’ touchscreen on the top of the centre console with a few shortcut buttons around it. The Rio can be specced with a navigation system with live traffic updates from TomTom, and, most significantly, can be equipped with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay compatibility for full smartphone integration.

There are also USB ports for rear passengers as well as those in the front, which Kia claims is a first in the segment. There are plenty of storage compartments in the cabin, with room in the doorbins to hold a 1.5-litre bottle of water, and space for half-litre water bottles for rear passengers.

The boot capacity has also been increased to 325 litres, which is just short of the 330 litres offered by the Skoda Fabia. The boot floor height can be changed, and the rear seats split and can be folded as standard.

How much will it cost?

Prices for the Rio start at Β£11,995, allowing the car to significantly undercut other small hatchbacks including the five-door Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa, which are priced from Β£14,395 and Β£12,480 respectively. The Hyundai i20, meanwhile, is priced from Β£9995.

If you're looking for a mid-range 1.0-litre Rio in '2' specification, then expect to pay about Β£14,545, while for a top-end Rio First Edition model you'll need to pay Β£17,445.

How much equipment does it come with?

Buyers can choose from three simple trim levels, helpfully dubbed Grade 1, 2 and 3. Grade 1 cars come with air conditioning, front electric windows, remote locking and a 3.8in display screen with Bluetooth connectivity. Mid-range Grade 2 models receive 15in alloy wheels, a 5.0in display screen with DAB radio, cruise control and an enhanced safety package with automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning.

Grade 3 Rios, meanwhile, get larger 16in alloys, automatic air conditioning, a 7.0in display screen, heated front seats and heated steering wheel, plus satellite navigation and automatic wipers.

For a limited time, Kia will also offer a First Edition version of the new Rio, which gets 17in alloys, keyless entry and start, and black and red faux leather upholstery inside.

There are six airbags fitted as standard, and Isofix child seat tethers for all passenger seats.

How good are its rivals?

The Rio is up against some of the best-selling cars in the UK - namely the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa. The Fiesta is one of our favourite small cars, offering fun driving dynamics and and reasonable running costs, while the Corsa offers cheap company car tax and an efficient 1.0-litre engine.

Anything else I should know?

One of the main focuses for the Kia Rio’s development team was making the car more fun to drive. The Rio is built on a new chassis, and has suspension tuning which Kia says is more comfortable than the current car, and handling which is more fun.

Watch our full video road test of the current Kia Rio below.

Read more - our full Kia Rio review

Read more - the best (and worst) small cars


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