Kia Rio: A small car wants to go up

Those who want to buy a small car are spoiled for choice. The offer is huge. Manufacturers who want to assert themselves in the market therefore have to put in a lot of effort. That also has Kia internalized and the Rio generation, which has been available in the fourth generation since 2011, has now been prettied up, given new equipment details and the engines made more economical. As usual, the little one starts with the 62 kW / 84 hp base petrol from 10.990 euros.

The Rio is one of the bestsellers in the Korean portfolio worldwide. In 2014, he finished fourth in Germany with just under 7.000 units sold behind the compact car Ceed, the SUV Sportage and the Stadtflitze. However, it is still a long way from the sales figures of competitors such as VW Polo, Opel Corsa or Ford Fiesta.

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To make the distance shorter, the 4,10 meter long compact car has now been refreshed. The brand face familiar from Ceed and Sportage with the so-called tiger nose grille now also adorns the front. Newly designed fog lights and modified rear lights complete the design modifications. Of course, other classics of a facelift should not be missing: Fancier, now two-tone 16 and 17 inch alloy wheels are now available as well as new exterior colors. Overall, the small, available as a three- or five-door, now looks a bit sportier and should also appeal to younger buyers.

Inside, it is also a little more lively. Chrome applications loosen up the dashboard, the central console has been supplemented with a larger display for the optional navigation system including reversing camera. The controls are fairly user-friendly.

The little one can score with his space. No wonder, after all, the 2,57-long wheelbase already provides good conditions to accommodate passengers and luggage. The driver and front passenger sit on comfortable chairs - the leg rests could be longer, however - the rear passengers are somewhat dependent on cooperation from the people in front. The trunk holds 288 liters in the basic position. That's a good average in the small car league. If you fold down the backrests, the loading volume increases to 923 liters.

As before, Kia offers four engines for the Rio. Two petrol engines (62 kW / 84 hp and 80 kW / 109 hp) and two diesels (55 kW / 75 hp and 66 kW / 90 hp) are available. These have been revised, they now meet the Euro 6 emissions standard and have become somewhat more economical. Except for the entry-level petrol, all units are coupled to a six-speed gearbox.

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The volume engine is the 1,2-liter Otto with 84 hp. Almost 50 percent of buyers opt for this variant. The small engine is very lively with its 121 Nm torque, provided that the five-speed gearshift is used eagerly. However, you have to be patient for the standard sprint: it takes 13,4 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km / h. And you shouldn't have high expectations for the top speed either - at 168 km / officially the end of the urge to accelerate. After all, you can trust the highway without having to worry about only finding yourself on the truck lane. On average, 4,7 liters flow through the lines (CO2 emissions: 109 g / km), in everyday life it should be just under six liters.

The Rio shows its advantages in city traffic. The steering is direct, uneven road filters the chassis properly. What doesn't work well is noise reduction. The roar of the engine arrives loudly and audibly in the interior.

It's a good thing that a radio is part of the standard equipment. Speaking of equipment: the basic version is not very extensive, as is typical for small cars. Air conditioning is missing, as are electric windows or a height-adjustable driver's seat. Most customers therefore opt for the year-round special model "Dream Team" (from 14.380 euros). This includes automatic climate control, 16-inch alloy wheels, a heated multifunction leather steering wheel, seat heating, central locking with radio remote control and rear parking sensors. For a surcharge of 690, a navigation system including a reversing camera is available. Kia doesn't have driver assistance systems for the Rio at all. They will only be available in the next generation of vehicles. But always on board: a seven-year guarantee.

Author: Holger Holzer / SP-X

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