First Edition 1.0 T-GDi Eco
new Rio is Kias
entry in the
supermini stakes. Powered by a
new turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol
engine as part of a range of more
efficient petrol and diesel engines,
it eagerly takes on the best of the
pack with prices from £12K...
IF YOU'RE SUPERMINI SHOPPING in this sector then this latest fourth generation
of Kia's global best-seller offers plenty of reasons to try one out, including
more size and space, generous kit levels and all the media and connectivity
functions you'd like.
Our range-topping First Edition model was finished in a fetching shade of metallic
red which admirably suits the Rio's five-door-only hatchback bodystyle. Fronted
by a purposeful nose with a deep lower grille topped by a slimmer, full-width
version of Kia's unmistakable 'tiger-nose' panel bracketed by wraparound projector
headlights, and clean uncluttered flanks with flat-cut wheelarches filled with
standout 8-double-spoke polished alloys, the Rio is crisply contemporary.
the bonnet badge, you could be looking at a German marque no surprise
then that Kia's German and Californian design studios both had a hand in shaping
1.0-litre is a punchy and
engine and it drives
smoothly when youre
pootling it goes about
its business quietly,
but when you want to
raise the pace its always
keen to oblige,
revving cleanly and
Two immediate major 'of interest' points: first, engines. With four petrol engines
and two diesel units to choose from there's something for everyone. Petrol-drinkers
come in 1.25-litre (83bhp) and 1.4 (98bhp) sizes. Giving you 'more from less'
are the new 1.0-litre T-GDi turbo petrol powerplants you can have either
99bhp or 118bhp. And if diesel is your pick you have a choice between 76bhp
and 89bhp outputs from 1.4 litres.
We've been driving the 118bhp turbocharged 1.0-litre T-GDi. It's a punchy and
refined three-cylinder engine and it drives smoothly; when you're pootling it
goes about its business quietly, but when you want to raise the pace it's always
keen to oblige, revving cleanly and, helped by a very tractable 126lb ft of
torque between 1,500 and 4,000rpm, delivering meaningful get-up-and-go in the
low- and mid-range.
Overtaking is straightforward, especially if you drop down a gear, or even two,
to keep the turboed one-litre in its sweet spot no problem given the
slick and accurate gearchange action.
At motorway speeds a 'tall' top gear keeps the revs down and the cabin peaceful.
For the record, it will nip off the line and pass 60mph in 9.8 seconds, and
run on to a top speed of 118mph so no risk of being left behind in this
It's also pretty good when it comes to economy. Naturally Kia's engine stop-start
system (ISG: Intelligent Stop and Go) is fitted as standard. A week's hard driving
on predominantly low-gear back roads and quite a bit of town driving saw 44.8mpg
recorded. That noted, the average owner's likely kinder treatment of the accelerator
pedal should help them move their overall consumption closer to the official
combined cycle figure of 60.1mpg.
second 'of interest' point is the Rio's dynamics... These latest 4th-generation
models have a can-do stance that reflects their greater under-the-skin structural
rigidity (they use 51% high-strength steel; up from 33% in previous versions).
Consequently there's a positive knock-on for the handling.
front wheels are the driven pair, which imparts predictability and reassuring
composure. And, Yes, you can push on do so and the accurate and agreeably-light-at-town-speeds
steering weights up for more demanding wheel-work. With good body control it
feels tidy when punted.
weeks hard driving
on predominantly low-
gear back roads and
quite a bit of town driving
saw 44.8mpg recorded.
That noted, the average
owners likely kinder
treatment of the
accelerator pedal should
help them move
their overall consumption
closer to the official
combined cycle figure
Although it doesn't pretend to be a hot-hatch and most customers wouldn't
ever drive it as such there is satisfaction to be had on more challenging
roads along with a reassuring stability on motorways at the legal limit. And
when you need to scrub off speed rather than slap it on, the brakes (discs all
round, vented at the front) do a great job.
Where the Rio will also score well with its owners is in how it rides
which is compliantly; all but the worst road surfaces are dealt with efficiently,
even rolling on the First Edition model's 17-inch alloy wheels shod with Continental
Where this all-new Rio really comes together is in the cabin inside it
feels supermini-PLUS, a feeling boosted by the well-fettled fascia and user-friendly
switchgear. Visually striking is the red metallic paint finish to the sculpted
fascia with a centred, upright and very easy to see from the driver's seat 7-inch
The pin-sharp display hosts Kia's Connected Services featuring TomTom-powered
SatNav, Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming, Apple CarPlay
and Android Auto for smartphone mirroring, and a DAB radio. Fixed speed camera
location alerts, local search, live traffic updates, and weather reports are
all part of the comms package, and the reversing camera view, with dynamic guidelines
is relayed onto the screen.
some decidedly upmarket touches are the shapely, supportive and softly bolstered
red-and-black perforated faux leather seats for extra comfort they're
heated (3-stage); and so is the good-to-grip leather rim of the multifunction
(voice, phone, audio, driver's computer, cruise, speed limiter) steering wheel.
plenty of space to go round, too, particularly headroom (among best-in-class)
and generous outer armrests. The driving position is first-rate with fine all-round
visibility helped by slim A-pillars and big side windows and uninterrupted views
through the back screen all of which make the Rio very easy to place
on the road.
interesting mix of trim materials (including matching red faux leather door
inserts) is easy on the eye and pleasant to the touch, and there's a palpable
sense of luxury pervading the First Edition's cockpit. Nearly every time we
returned to the car after parking up we'd find people admiring the cabin through
touches are the
and softly bolstered
faux leather seats
for extra comfort
theyre heated (3-stage);
and so is the
good-to-grip leather rim
of the multifunction
(voice, phone, audio,
drivers computer, cruise,
Neat touches? There are plenty: the knurled AirCon knobs have their own built-in
digital readouts; mobile devices can be charged from any seat, front or back;
there's a selectable digital speed readout on the dedicated driver info display
between the main dials; the touchscreen has well-laid out menus; and the user-friendly
navigation comes with full 7-figure postcode destination entry, 3D mapping,
and A1 spoken directions. All small things, but they each make car-life substantially
You'll also find plenty of in-cabin storage, with useful bottle-holding door
bins, a large glovebox, overhead drop-down sunglasses case, a deep bin under
the sliding centre armrest (which, incidentally, doesn't cramp the pull-up handbrake),
siamesed cupholders, and a non-slip deep centre console tray ahead of the gearlever
for smartphones and the like with USB, Aux-in, and 12v power.
The First Edition Rio comes highly specced and in addition to the many items
already mentioned you can take for granted keyless entry and start, electric
windows, powerfolding heated door mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, drive-off
automatic door locking, and a stainless steel pedal set.
this you can add six airbags (front, front side, and curtain), height-adjustable
front seatbelts, LED daytime running lights, cornering lights, LED rear lights,
auto lights and wipes, and tyre pressure monitoring.
And then there's active safety and driver assist features such as stability
control, Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, Lane Departure
Warning, Emergency Stop Signalling, and Hill-start Assist.
its compact 4-metre body the Rio's not just got space for passengers but for
their luggage too. And you can access it quickly because the head-friendly fifth
door opens high and fast. At 325 litres, the boot's a respectable size and easy
to load through the rear hatch; there's a short drop over the lip down to the
boot floor, but it's not a problem.
the 60:40-split rear seats (they fold flat and the belts stay helpfully out
of the way) and you'll create a well-shaped loadbay that can swallow 980 litres
of cargo. The Rio will even tow a braked 1,110kg; and can take 70kg on the roof.
A proper (and essential for the UK) rear wash/wipe is yet another 'plus'.
front wheels are
the driven pair, which
imparts predictability and
And, Yes, you can
push on do so and
the accurate and
weights up for more
Hatchback it might be, but two real-world adults can travel very comfortably
in the back there's actually enough headroom for even a six-footer's
head to stay shy of the roof lining. The rear seats match the front set for
two-tone upholstery and light bolstering and three sitting side-by-side
is definitely doable. As well as ample headroom there's good foot and knee room
and, thanks to there not being a central floor tunnel, three sets of feet will
Added to that are relaxing backrest angles, made even better by the good lower
back support they provide. Long and deep rear side windows maintain an airy
feel in spite of the tinted and privacy glass to the back and tailgate glass,
and other 'likes' are the bottle-holding door bins and rear USB charger port.
Fluent to drive, easy to live with, much more accommodating than you'd expect
of a compact hatch and satisfyingly well-equipped, the Rio does the 'supermini'
job very nicely indeed, thank you. And of course, as with every Kia, there's
that peace-of-mind bonus of the best warranty in the business: seven-years /
100,000-miles (less than half of what you get with most rivals). All-in-all
that adds up to one major USP. ~ MotorBar
Rio First Edition 1.0 T-GDi Eco | £17,445
Maximum speed: 118mph | 0-60mph: 9.8 seconds | Test Average: 44.8mpg
Power: 118bhp | Torque: 126lb ft | CO2: 107g/km