The Kia Rio has created a bit of a stir in the light car class since its inception, recently I was given the honour of being the first person to review the MY15 Rio Si.
My first impressions were I really liked the looks it has to be one of the best looking light cars on the market and I’ve had a few comments from strangers this week that back that statement up.
Slipping behind the wheel and the first thing you notice that it seems quite roomy inside for a light car.
The leather bound steering wheel has a nice feel to it and it’s a good thickness.
The instrument panel is very well set out and the instruments are easy to read in any light, the red lettering on the LCD screen between the gadgets can display information such as your fuel economy and distance to empty, one thing it doesn’t have that some of it’s competitors do is a digital speedo.
The dash is covered in soft touch material which is a nice touch for a light car and something some of it’s competitors could benefit from. (ahem Holden Barina )
The controls on the centre stack are well set out and easy to use, this particular car only had the basic 4.3inch audio system, while it does have full blue tooth connectivity and hands free phone control via the steering wheel buttons.
I found the system to be a little basic and didn’t really offer a lot of features as far as control of your music. One thing it does have is a built in hard drive where you can store your own music although with only 580Mb of space it won’t hold an incredible amount of songs.
The red lighting on the system though did blend in rather well with dash and the cabin does have a nice feel to it.
While most manufacturers are using leather seats (or as it turns out fake leather seats) as a big selling point, I can’t stand them (yes I own a car with leather seats) so the cloth seats were god send specially when the car had been parked in the sun for a few hours.
The seats were comfortable and supportive, front leg room was good the rear leg room wasn’t as good but I didn’t get any complaints during the week from teenagers like I’ve had with other light cars I’ve driven.
Boot space isn’t massive but it’s light car so I didn’t really expect it to have a real lot but it will hold decent amount of groceries.
Under the bonnet the Rio has the 1.6L direct injection 4cyl naturally aspirated engine rated at 103kW and 167Nm of torque, and while it’s never going to set the world on fire it’s decent performer, It will keep up with traffic and will cruise along at freeway speeds.
I did however find that it did struggle with my commute more than the Cerato did the week before and that show’s in the fuel economy which seemed to be pegged at 10.7L/100km for the week.
Most of my driving is done on old Windsor Rd which has an 890km/h speed limit so there is a lot of 0-80km/h starts.
I will say this car was brand new with less than 900km on the clock so the engine was still tight performance and the economy may improve when the engine loosens up a bit.
Ride wise the Rio doesn’t feel too bad at all, seemed to absorb the bumps without any harshness , through some corners at it and while there’s a little bit of lean when cornering but I found the road holding rather good.
The Rio doesn’t get the flex steer the Cerato gets but I found the steering has decent feel, it does feel a little light at speed but not enough to be off putting.
Safety wise the Rio scored a 5 Star ANCAP rating and is equip with 6 airbags, abs, esc, it did however lose points for having no reverse sensors and lost more for not having a rear view camera either, which other cars in its class come standard with.
While I found the Rio to be a decent car all round there were a couple of draw backs for me, the smallish rear window means that rear view is a bit reduced so the lack of reverse sensors or rear view camera makes it a pain to reverse park.
Overall the Kia Rio Si is a decent little car I found it to ride and handle well, the interior is functional and well set out, there’s a decent amount of legroom and it’s a comfortable car to drive.
There were a few drawbacks limited view through the rear window and lack of rear view camera or reverse sensors meant it was a pain to reverse park and it did seem to struggle a bit with my commute fuel economy wise.
Although I am sure somebody with a different commute that isn’t constantly accelerating from 0-80km/h to keep up with traffic will get better economy.
If you are looking for a light car then really you should take a look at the Kia Rio you will be surprised how good it is.
For info on the Kia Rio or the rest of their vehicle range check out their website http://www.kia.com.au
MY15 Kia Rio Si
Engine: 1.6L 4cyl petrol 103kW 167Nm
Transmission: 6 speed auto
Features: electric power steering, 6 airbags, electronic stability control, cruise control, air conditioning, CD/MP3 stereo, Bluetooth, Sat Nav, 16-inch alloys
Colour: Aurora Black
RRP Price: $21,490
Premium paint: $520
Price as tested $22,010