The Kia Rio Sport is one of a small list of 3 door light cars available on the Australian market, I recently spent a week with it just see whether the 3 door style is still really practical amongst the plethora of 5 door models that many people seem to favour.
On the outside I find the Rio Sport nice looking indeed, it’s 2 door coupe body looks rather sporty combine that with a nice set of alloys black and chrome front end treatment complete with fog lights and Rio Sport is easy on the eye’s specially when in the digital yellow paint job.
Stepping inside and the
The interior while being functional and a clean design it was a touch bland, the dash is a mix of hard and soft plastics and the centre is home to the mulitmedia system (if you could call it that).
The small screen look really out of place and a long way short of the touch screen offered by some its rivals in the light car class.
There are a decent amount of storage spots and the leatherette seats are somewhat comfortable and supportive, the leather wrapped steering wheel is fairly comfortable to hold and a decent thickness.
The instrument panel while being a touch on the basic side is easy to read in any light and I do like really like the circular dial setup.
Being the Sport model the seats have red stitching and there is a red gear knob but I’m not sure if it actually contrasts well with the bright yellow on the outside.
The legroom though surprisingly good even in back which is easy to get into then a lot of other smaller cars thanks to the wide door opening.
Boot space is rather good to with 288L of cargo opening up to 923 with the rear seats folded.
The wide doe openings mean it’s easier to access the back seats then you think.
Under the bonnet the sport benefits from a bigger 1.6L 4 cylinder engine, with 103kW and 167Nm.
Which means for a light car it’s not a bad performer, while it’s not going to win a lot of F1 races the engine but it’s a peaky little engine which means it will happily rev towards the red line.
While it can be a spritely off the mark it’s lack of low down torque means that some time you have to pedal it a little harder to keep up with traffic and starting off at the bottom of a steep hill means it can be a little bit of tedious climb.
This also meant that the Sports fuel economy suffered during my normal commute where I averaged 10.6L/100km.
Backing the 1.6L 4 cyl is a wonderful 6 speed auto which is smooth and seamless and seems to always be in the right gear.
On the road the Rio Sport rides rather well indeed, the suspension does a great job of soaking up the bumps with little transmitted into the cabin, It sit rather flat in corners but part of that can attributed to the sticky Continental tyres.
While the steering isn’t as sharp as I liked and not as light as some at low speeds it was still extremely easy to wheel in and out of tight parking spots. Although I think the Rio Sport could benefit from quicker steering ratio.
Safety wise the Rio Sport comes standard with the following features ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution), BA (Brake Assist), ESC (Electronic Stability Control), TCS (Traction Control System), VSM (Vehicle Stability Management), HAC (Hill-start Assist Control), Driver and front passenger SRS airbags, Curtain SRS airbags (1st & 2nd row), Curtain airbags.
The Rio Sport does loose point for not being fitted with rear parking sensors or a rear view camera, which should be fitted as your view when backing out of a spot is impeded by the rear pillar.
So after a week I came away with mixed feelings about the Rio Sport while it isn’t a bad little car it rides and steers nicely, it’s let down by the lack of rear parking sensors and/or a rear view camera.
While the engine is peppy and likes to rev it’s lack of low down torque meant it had to work harder than other cars I’ve driven specially up hills which effects the fuel economy.
My other issue is the price at $25,000 drive away in NSW at the moment it’s rather pricey compared to others in its class which offer more features and actually makes it more expensive than some cars in the bigger small car class.
One big plus though is Kia’s 7 year warranty which is unmatched by any other company so you do have that peace of mind.
Also if you can put up with the smaller and less powerful 1.4L engine there are cheaper Rio models available.
For more Info on the Kia Rio range check out their website http://www.kia.com.au
Kia Rio Sport,
Price: $25,011 drive away in NSW at the moment.
Engine: 1.6L GDI 4cyl 103kW 167Nm
Transmission: 6 speed auto
MDPS (Electric power steering), 17″ alloy wheels, Dusk-sensing automatic headlamps, Remote central locking with keyless entry & boot release, Leatherette trim seats with red stitch, Body coloured electric outside mirrors (heated), Rear lip spoiler, Projector type headlamps, LED daytime running light (DRL), Static cornering lamps, LED rear combination lamps, Solar glass, Alloy sports pedals, Premium interior trim