After seeing the little Kia Rio I knew I just had to take her somewhere special - and I knew just the place. We went on a delightful cruise to the Blue Mountains, just west of Sydney.
The Rio looks most at home cruising around town, but let's just say everything went smoothly - she may struggle to get up to speed, but once she's there she's a sweet enjoyable ride. The 1.6-litre petrol engine is teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission and produces 103kW at 6300rpm and 167Nm at 4850rpm so there's not a lot of grunt down low in the rev-range.
She’s definitely a beautiful automobile, a lot of creative thought has clearly gone into the design. While the Rio may not inspire a lot of rubbernecking from passersby, she still stands out in her class and is a stylish looking car.
The Si gets 16-inch alloy wheels which add a sporty vibe.
The interior was a standout part of the car. The downside was the dated display. However, the ignition style AC buttons added a bit of flare and helped make the dash feel like something special.
The Si is the top spec and gets a few extras over the S and S Premium including a supervision instrument cluster, centre console with armrest, interior trim touches, front map lamps and vanity mirror illumination. Every Rio comes with MP3 and USB connectivity.
The Rio seems aware the interior design is the best feature. And she’s pretty keen to continually show it off with a little light on the inside (near the reading lights) you can't seem to turn off, which fast becomes annoying when driving at night.
Besides the design, I would say the comfortable driving was a surprise. The Rio is at home no matter if she’s driving around the city or cruising on the open road at speed. It’s this sort of feature than can make or break a car, especially if it’s a long term investment or if you spend a lot of time in the car.
Hill start assist control is standard across the range, as are seatbelt reminders for all seats - and the Rio plays it safe, with six airbags including coverage for rear-seat occupants.
She doesn't tell you when you leave your lights on. Sure, they may turn off when you hit the lock button twice on your key, but do I really want my lights back on when I head off in the morning? It was easy to forget they were on for a while until you become familiar with the dash.
I didn’t get to test the Rio out with more than one passenger, but the back did seem to comfortably have enough room for extra bodies. She’d definitely make a great run around car, perhaps as the second family car, after a larger sedan or SUV that would provide more room for larger families.
The Kia Rio comes with a whopping seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, which is bound to instill confidence and a sense of security when purchasing.
Fuel economy is a claimed 6.1-litres/100km.
Cruise control doesn't tell you what you've set your speed at. You're almost driving blind. It can tell you a dozen other amazing stats like time until refuel, average speed, average fuel economy, etc., but not a simple set number. I found I preferred not to bother using it after a while.
Along with the light and headlights issues, these niggling little annoyances add up. Perhaps I'm picky. If you can get used to those quirks, then they're probably not deal-breakers for everyone.
She's cute, for sure. She has the looks, but in the end probably not right for me. Look. We had fun, but I'm not sure we'd work in the long run.
Because it's comfortable on the open road as well as around town, it'd be a great option for inner-city dwellers who have to travel a fair distance for work - from the Blue Mountains in to Sydney, for example.