This small sedan is for young drivers looking for a new drive with a bit of pop, combining a sharp look with great value for money and inexpensive to maintain.
The price of small cars has skyrocketed in recent years, with brands cutting back on their cheaper models in favor of fully equipped alternatives. But Kia is still one of the few brands to occupy this $ 20,000 segment.
We’re testing the top of the line Rio GT-Line to see what it is.
The GT-Line cost $ 22,990 to drive a few years ago, but good deals are scarce in these troubled times. This hottest Rio costs $ 3,000 more today, but the value is still decent. A sporty body kit includes a wider front bumper housing a 17-inch multi-spoke LED fog light cluster and alloys, rear diffuser, dual exhausts, roof spoiler and LED position lights.
There is pizzazz in the cabin with a large, flat-bottomed steering wheel, carbon-effect trim, alloy pedals and leather-look side bolsters on sleek cloth seats. Auto lights and wipers, air conditioning, wireless Apple CarPlay / Android Auto, and an 8-inch touchscreen are highlights.
It’s the only Rio to get a turbo engine: a characterful three-cylinder mated to a performance-oriented dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Smaller Rios use a more mundane non-turbo four-cylinder.
The warranty is great at seven years and unlimited kilometers, but five years of service costs $ 2,128. Services are annual or every 10,000 km, which is shorter than the typical 15,000 km.
Cleverly packaged, the Rio feels a bit more spacious inside than rivals such as the Toyota Yaris or the Mazda2.
The cabin is flashy with white stitching for the racy steering wheel and supportive seats, but it’s not lavish. Hard, rough plastics line the doors and top of the dashboard, and despite being billed like the top-of-the-line model, don’t expect luxuries like heated seats, cordless phone charging, or a cruise control. radar speed. The rear headroom is very good for a car of this size, and the legroom is passable, meaning two adults – plus a small one in the middle – can travel in decent comfort. It loses points for lack of rear air vents and USB ports but the storage spaces are generous and a 325-liter trunk is deep and wide for this segment.
The main bases are covered, but no more. Automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and driver attention alert are standard, but there’s no blind spot monitor or rear cross-traffic alert.
An update actually reduced the performance of the GT-Line’s three-cylinder. It was previously 88 kW, but you now only get 74 kW, although the torque remains at 172 Nm. Maximum torque comes in from just 1,500 rpm, providing fun and cheerful performance in the city, but it runs out quickly and 0 to 100 km / h takes almost ten seconds.
Typical of the three-cylinder, it makes a rorty note at high revs and the Sport mode maintains gears longer if you’re on a fun road. The dual-clutch car gives quick gear changes, but the lack of paddles on the steering wheel (or manual gearbox option) deprives the driver of involvement.
The suspension – tuned in Australia – favors cornering ability over comfort. Grip is impressive, while you can confidently push the GT-Line through the corners and it remains well balanced. So much so that you start to scream for more power.
The trade-off is rough driving on poor surfaces. It is not enough to deserve a visit to a chiropractor, but in town, the constant shocks annoy. Low profile tires get noisy on highways, while the gearbox every now and then
low speed shaking; the price of a driver’s car, you would say.
Our test gave a respectable 7.7 L / 100 km and the little Kia only needs standard gasoline.
A great fun first car for the avid driver, although it would need more power and an upgraded safety package.
Suzuki Swift GLX Turbo, around $ 28,790 by car
More safety equipment and more power at 82 kW, but only 160 Nm of torque. Fun, light, good looking and inexpensive to drive, it’s a great all-rounder, albeit more expensive than the Kia.
Volkswagen Polo 85TSI Comfortline, approximately $ 27,490 by car
Not so flashy, but a nice three-cylinder turbo city car offering 85kW and 200Nm. Good safety and a more grown-up choice, but it’s a classy drive rather than fun.
Manual Kia Picanto GT, $ 21,490 by car
Same brand, smaller size. Shares the engine of the Rio, but its manual gearbox and lower mass make it a true pocket rocket. Driving even harder than the Rio, but it’s a cheaper toy.
KIA RIO GT-LINE VITALS
Price: $ 25,990 by car
Motor: 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbo petrol, 74 kW / 172 Nm
Guarantee / service: Seven years / unlimited km, $ 2,128 over five years
Security: Six airbags, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, driver attention alert, rear sensors
The thirst: 5.3 L / 100 km
Spare: Space saving