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Kia Rio 1,4 TEC

by Wilhelm Lutjeharms on 12/12/2011

Comments: 0

At A Glance

Make KIA Rio
Retail Price R206 995,00
kw 79
Torque 135
Top Speed 183

It seems Kia is producing better and better cars with every new model launch. Almost every new product from this Korean manufacturer moves the goal post a little further, and makes life a little harder for its competitors. The new Kia Rio is a case in point.

The Kia Rio, here in 1,4 petrol TEC specification level, slots in almost perfectly – in terms of size – between the new Toyota Yaris and a Volkswagen Golf. Parked in our test car garage, it surely stands out, especially our test unit’s red body colour and shiny – standard – 17-inch alloys. Overall, it is a neat looking hatchback.

Inside, the perceived quality is good while the centre console draws some real attention. Apart from the standard fitment of an auxiliary and USB port for the sound system, there are easy-to-use rocker-type switches horizontally laid out on the lower part of the console.

The seating position for the driver is spot on with all the controls within easy reach. The rest of the cabin offers enough space, even for passengers at the rear. For a significant part of our journey during the course of the weekend, we were travelling four-up, and yes, with only 79 kW and 135 N.m you need to work the transmission. Even so, the 1,4-litre engine is still a fairly good performer and once you realise that sixth gear should only be used for cruising, one can happily use the rest of the slick shifting transmission.

Faced with a steep hill it is best to shift from sixth gear to fourth gear, and by doing this, you’ll discover an engine that is reasonably eager to be taken through the rev range. Other than that, this 1,4-litre is impressive and lively, just remember to use the revs.

The only slightly controversial characteristic of the driving experience could be the steering feel and feedback. By now we have – sort of – become accustomed to the rather artificial steering feel of most of Kia’s products. Still, in the Rio it seems less of a nuisance than some of Kia’s other products we have tested during the course of the past year.

Another fact that scores several brownie points for the Rio is its price and specification level. For R168 995 you get climate control, six airbags, alloy pedals, Bluetooth connectivity, keyless entry, a cooled glovebox, leather seats, LED daytime running lights and automatic wipers to name a few. The only optional extra our test car had was the sunroof.

Take into account that the price includes a four-year/60 000 km service plan and a five-year/100 000 km warranty, and this package looks more than just attractive.

Look out for road test of the Kia Rio 1,4 TEC in a future issue of CAR magazine.

Model name: Kia Rio 1,4 TEC
Engine: 1,4-litre, four-cylinder petrol
Power: 79 kW at 6 300 r/min
Torque: 135 N.m at 4 200 r/min
0-100 km/h: 12,55 seconds (tested)
Top speed: 183 km/h
Price: R168 995
Service plan: 4 years/60 000 km
Warranty: 5 years/100 000 km
Service intervals: 15 000 km

Prices And Specs

Make KIA Rio
Model Rio 1.4 TEC 5-dr MY11
Retail Price R206 995,00
kw 79
Torque 135
0-100km 11.5
Top Speed 183
Fuel Type Petrol
Fuel Consumption Not Available
Tyre Size Front 205/45 R17
Tyre Size Rear 205/45 R17
Rear Tyre Size Width 205
Rear Tyre Size Profile 45
Rear Tyre Rim Size 17
Spare Tyre Size 205/45 R17
Tyre Pressure Monitor No
Wheelbase 2570

Safety And Features

Air Conditioner Automatic
Audio System CD Frontloader
Rev Counter Yes
Gearbox Manual
ABS Brakes Yes
Power Steering Yes
Seats 5
Steering Wheel Heated No
Speakers 6
Colour Coded Bumpers Body Colour
Leather Trim Full
Alarm Yes
Anti Skid Control No
Electronic Defferential No
Gears 6
Height 1455
Onboard Computer Yes
Immobiliser Yes
Split Rear Seats Yes
Brake Assist No
Electric Seats -
Cup Holders Yes
Electric Mirrors Yes
Electric Windows Front Rear
Airbag DPS
Doors 5
Airbag Driver Yes
Airbag Passenger Yes
Navigation System No
Park Assistance Rear
Side Impact Protection Bars Yes
Sunroof Optional
Fog Lamps Front Yes
Fog Lamps Rear Yes
Headlight Type Halogen
Towbar Optional
Payload -
Bull Bar -

  • Anonymous

    Only reason this is not segment champ is its sibling from the Hyundai stable. At R157k the Accent 1.6 GLS provides better value and a 91kw engine. Why Kia decided not to bring the Rio with a 1.6 like they do in the USA is incomprehensible. Especially as most South African sales happen in Gauteng where the energy sapping altitude makes a real difference. C’mon Kia, that 1.6 engine please!

  • Strongarm_keith

    Test drove this car this weekend….. eager to buy…what a dissapointment it turned out to be! not a bad engine, nice interior ….but the NVH….not so good and over small impercfections in the road the suspension was …to say the least …very jittery! It did not leave me feeling secure at all. Lovely from far but far from lovely i am afraid…..

  • JP

    The KIA might not have the 1.6 engine, but it’s far better looking than the Accent and has more spec. And the performance of the 1.4 Rio isn’t bad. You just need to use the transmission more often. But will agree, they have to get the 1.6.. It will be a bit more expensive and priced out of its league though…

  • JP

    Bought this vehicle, and I am very impressed! It drives well, the NVH ain’t that bad @Strongarm_keith and the ride over imperfect surfaces will be a bit jittery because of the lower profile tires, but not as bad as you describe it. It’s a very good value for money vehicle.

  • JP

    I mean much better value for money….

  • JP

    LOL, I actually suspected you were driving a much more expensive and higher segment car. When climbing into a lower segment car from a GTi, you’re def gonna feel the difference… If you compare the Rio to vehicles like the Polo, Fiesta etc, you’ll feel that the Rio is much more “grown up” than them. I have one, and can tell you it’s better than a Polo and Fiesta (Family members drive them) and is much more value for money.. The only real problem is that the engine doesn’t really deliver the performance the looks suggests, but it’s now slouch either… Good balance of economy and performance….

  • Strongarm_keith

    I drive a Golf 6 GTI with a very hard suspension ( much harder than this Kia will ever be ) and 40 profile tyres…. it doesnt budge on the exactly same stretch of road. i do realise its a heavier car …. perhaps the cheaper model with bigger profile tyres will be better…. I thinkm perhaps I was expecting a little to much from what is essentially a budget based car…. Liek I said there is much to like in the cabin and the looks are great!

  • Gary

    An impressive looking vehicle and good value for money. I agree with the sentiments expressed by others regarding the engine. Kia offer a 1.6l engine (103kw/167Nm) in Australia where most of their cities are located at sea level. One last observation, the radio does not have RDS functionality and spoils what is otherwise an impressive feature offering.

  • Strongarm_keith

    point taken JP ! i have been rather spoiled i am afraid… methinks i have even become a bit of a snob!!! i do agree that against the polo and fiesta it represents much better value…. happy travels!

  • Anonymous

    The Australians seems to agree that his is the best car in its class. Australia’s Best Cars is Australia’s most comprehensive and reliable consumer-focused vehicle testing and awards program. The awards were established in 2000 by Australia’s motoring organisations, which represent more than six million members across that country.
    The best cars available to Australians in 2011 are as follows:
    Best light car under $20 000: Kia Rio
    Best light car over $20 000: VW Polo
    Best small car under $35 000: VW Golf
    Best small car over $35 000: Lexus CT200H
    Best medium car under $50 000: VW Jetta
    Best medium car over $50 000: Mercedes Benz C250
    Best large car under $60 000: Ford Falcon
    Best large car over $60 000: Audi A6
    Best sports car under $80 000: BMW 135i Coupe
    Best sports car over $80 000: Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Coupe
    Best SUV under $40 000: VW Tiguan
    Best SUV over $40 000 Kia Sorento
    Best luxury SUV over $60 000: VW Touareg
    Best all terrain 4wd: Land Rover Discovery 4
    Best people mover: Hyundai iMax (known here as the H1)
    For more info and a look at the 2nd and 3rd places in each category go to http://www.racq.com.au/motoring/cars/car_reviews/australias_best_cars/australias-best-cars-2011

  • Sricharte89

    I’m looking to buy either the rio or new chev sonic the rio offers a high spec in its class at the price but is a let down in terms of engine size and power I would agree they should have brought a bigger motor or even turbo’d the 1.4 as they did the sonic in USA so paying 200k would be worth it if you compare it to the fiesta 1.6 s which for me is overpriced @ 212k pity has anyone tested the chev sonic yet?

  • JP

    The Rio has a 79kw motor… It’s def not underpowered, I have one and just completed my trip down to CT and back to JHB, and believe me, it has more than enough power. Overtaking, however, should not be done in sixth gear, but a downshift to 5th does the job. The Rio offers excellent value for money.

  • JJ

    How is the fuel consumption?

  • JP

    Fuel economy is very good. The worst I got so far is 7.2 l/100km, and that is in traffic. With my trip to CT and back to JHB, it averaged 6.1 l/100km with a best of 5.7 l/100m. If you do more than 120 it can rise to 6.5 l/100km

  • Anonymous

    One of the advantages of subscribing to the mag is that by now I have had time to take a good look at your comparative test beteen the Rio and Yaris in the Feb2012 edition. And as expected the Rio handed the Yaris a blue eye and a bloody nose in this confrontation and won by quite a wide margin. 79/100 compared to 71/100 is quite a drubbing

  • JP

    I’m also subscribed, just didn’t get to the mail yet! Thanks for the summary…