THE relentless rise in the fortunes of Korean car maker Kia continues apace as yet another new model appears in dealer showrooms and it won’t be long before it is followed early in the New Year by a flagship Kia, writes Bryan Longworth.
The latest Kia to make its debut following the Picanto launch is the Rio now in its fourth generation and which is larger than the previous model and more stylish.
Indeed the ambitious Korean conmpany has so much confidence in their Fiesta rival that they are expecting it to be a top ten contender in the UK supermini market
However,it is not just the car itself that will tempt motorists in this sector to go for the Rio but also the industry leading seven year warranty and the three year servicing package of £259 - I paid almost that much for an annual service on my own car!
New Rio which is available with four engines is currently a five door but a three door version will be appearing in the New Year to give it even more appeal although I would go for the five door model because of the added convenience of having two rear doors.
My test car was the Rio 1.4 mid level “2” with the 1.4-litre petrol engine and the stop-start fuel saving function costing £13,095 on the road and which had plenty of standard equipment on board that included a cooled glovebox and daytime running lights.
New Rio which has been designed by Audi’s former design chief, Peter Schreyer, is a good looking car especially up front with plenty of showroom appeal and there is a lot space inside with spacious and comfortable seating.
At the rear there is seven per cent more space in the roomy load area but like many cars these days there is only a puncture kit with no spare wheel and owners will have to pay extra if they want the peace of mind a spare wheel brings.
The latest Rio has a nice feel about it on the road with quite light steering and the slick six speed manual gearbox provides really positive and smooth changes making it a very user friendly car.
I particularly liked the instrumentation especially the speedometer which was easy to see in all light conditions unlike many cars some costing much more than the Rio where the speedometers are difficult to see in very bright light.
Statistically, this Rio has a top speed of 113mph, a zero to 60mph time of 11.1 seconds, CO2 emissions of 128g/km and a combined fuel consumption of 51.4mpg which in reality was about 10mpg less.
The latest Rio which will be joined early next year by the sleek and larger Optima saloon is a perfect example of the ambitions of Kia who next year will have the largest range of new models in the UK of any manufacturer.
My Verdict: A stylish and roomy supermini.