Right off the bat, the Kia Rio 5-door hatch is actually, a sporty looking compact. Exterior styling queues like sideskirt-shaped rocker panels, angled rear glass and pseudo rear spoiler gives it an aggressive look and differentiates it from other mortal hatch models. Slim projector headlamps, fog lamps and DRL combination also helps. The somewhat smaller overall dimensions make sit perfect for urban jaunts and quickie trips.
Inside, Kia used plastic liberally, albeit in different finishes, which gave it a more elegant look. The driver’s seat has a manually controlled height control, which can be adjusted to suit different driver height and position. The front seats have small lumbar support for more comfort. Two passengers can seat comfortably in the back seat. 3 passengers, however, is a tight fit especially for larger size persons; but the 2-tone fabric with white stitching finish exudes sport and luxury, which is a welcome respite from leatherette. The infotainment is rather easy to use and comes with Bluetooth and USB port, but sound quality is limited.
An Eco Bar is displayed prominently on the dash with 3.5 inch LCD, which is useful when trying to save fuel. Average fuel consumption without passengers is 10.5km/L in city traffic and 16km/L in highway trips (Estimated). A pleasant surprise here is the automatic Rain Sensor that activates the wipers when it senses moisture on the windshield, and Autolight control that activates whenever it gets dark. The Glove box cooling is standard on the GL
Trunk space is big enough to hold small bags or groceries, but can hold much more when the rear seats are folded down. The removable tonneau cover is a nice touch, covering cargo and serves also as a tray to hold small things.
The frugal 1.4 litre, 16 Valve petrol engine has enough power for city travel especially in stop-and-go traffic, however, highway jaunts and uphill climbs can be a little taxing, particularly with 4 pasengers and cargo, but still gets the job done. The transmission is still a 4-speed Shiftronic. Manual shifting is more akin to conquering uphill climbs than power shifting, but the gear ratios are attuned for the small engine displacement, maximizing power and torque. But we are hoping for a turbocharger next time, ala the famous Kia Stinger.
Surprisingly, the suspension waswell thought of. Firm but not stiff. Combined with 17in rims and meaty 205/45/R17 tires, it’s the perfect road carver; more road grip and less body roll gives the driver more confidence in tight turns and high speed bursts.
For a compact car from Kia, the Rio is actually sporty looking. It’s the perfect urban transporter for a small family or an adventurous individual. Its small dimension makes it perfect for dodging traffic and maneuvering in tight spaces. It also can accommodate cargo when the rear seats are folded down. Even for a city mover, it’s exudes a nice feeling, knowing that your are driving a striking and sporty compact.
The Rio is the family sports car. It handles well, burns fuel efficiently and easy to drive, not mention a good-looking car. It’s not a stoplight racer, but it will take you to your destination with gusto. Kia also offers other Rio variants
at more affordable prices, starting at Php746,000 for the 6-speed manual transmission base model.
Overall Length x Width x Height (mm)
4,065 X 1,725 X 1,460
Gross Vehicle Weight (kg) 1,598
Price as Tested: Php 975,000
For more information, visit www.kia.com/ph
Text/Images by Earl Manalansan