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by Tim Beissmann

The three-door hatch and four-door sedan variants of the Kia Rio are now available in Australia, completing the line-up that launched in September 2011 with the all-new five-door hatch.

The addition of the three-door variant drops the Rio’s starting price to $15,290 before on-road costs, and also sees the introduction of a top-spec luxury sports model called the SLS.

The Rio sedan is available in one mid-level specification, the Si, which is $700 more expensive than the equivalent five-door model.

At 4045mm long, 1720mm wide, 1455mm tall and with a 2570mm wheelbase, the Rio three-door shares its external dimensions with five-door hatch.

The entry-level S variant is equipped identically in three- and five-door trim. A 79kW/135Nm 1.4-litre petrol engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission and can be optioned with a four-speed automatic. Official fuel consumption is 5.7 litres per 100km for the manual and 6.3L/100km for the auto, while acceleration from 0-100km/h takes 11.5 seconds and 13.2 seconds respectively.

Standard features include 15-inch steel wheels (with full-size spare), tilt and reach steering wheel, manual air conditioning, trip computer, six airbags, electronic stability control, and a four-speaker audio system with CD player and AUX/USB/iPod/Bluetooth connectivity.

The flagship SLS three-door adds $4700 to the price of the base model S. For the extra spend, you get the larger 103kW/167Nm 1.6-litre petrol engine, with the choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox. Both complete the sprint in the low 10s, and use 5.6L/100km (manual) and 6.1L/100km (auto) of fuel on the combined cycle.

Exclusive SLS features include climate control with auto defog, rain-sensing wipers, smart key entry with push-button start, leather upholstery and dual chrome exhausts. These come on top of 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights and an enhanced brake package.

The Rio sedan is 320mm longer than the hatches, but as the wheelbase is identical, there is no increase to passenger legroom. The most significant advantage is in luggage space, which grows from 288 litres to 389 litres in four-door format.

Standard in the Rio Si sedan is the 1.6-litre engine, 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, soft-touch dash material, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, automatic cruise control, metal-look interior accents, and an upgraded six-speaker stereo.

2012 Kia Rio manufacturer’s list prices (excluding government and dealer charges):

Three-door hatch:

  • S six-speed manual – $15,290
  • S four-speed automatic – $17,290
  • SLS six-speed manual – $19,990
  • SLS six-speed automatic – $21,990

Four-door sedan:

  • Si six-speed manual – $19,690
  • Si six-speed automatic – $21,690

Five-door hatch:

  • S six-speed manual – $16,290
  • S four-speed automatic – $18,290
  • Si six-speed manual – $18,990
  • Si six-speed automatic – $20,990
  • SLi six-speed manual – $19,990
  • SLi six-speed automatic – $21,990



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