When we drove the 1.4 Tec hatchback earlier this year, we were quite impressed with the package as a whole, but a little disappointed with the engine performance, especially when overtaking. I was convinced it was the larger alloys and I’m still convinced that the smaller alloys, being lighter in weight, actually accelerate a little faster, or so it feels.
The 1.4 is Kia’s entry level Rio sedan. There is nothing overly special here, so don’t expect leather seats, a sunroof or any other gizmos. It does have value and it will be reliable. The Kia Rio Sedan features the same OEM radio that’s in their TEC model. This means it also has Bluetooth and a USB input. There is a variety of menus to setup your car the way you’d want to with a surround sound feature that does make a difference on the overall acoustic output.
The 1.4 makes 79kw and 135nm. It’s mated to a 6 speed manual gearbox, where 6th gear is nothing really but an overdrive to keep your fuel consumption low. To be honest, this is really where the Rio performed very well. The base model Rio seemed to be more fuel efficient than their TEC top of the range hatchback, averaging 6.8l/100km over 7.2l/100km to the TEC Hatch. Not much in my opinion, but if you are looking to save money on fuel, the wiser decision would be the base model with the smaller wheels even though those hi-polished seventeen inch wheels look so darn good on the car!
The interior is Korean and when I say Korean, I mean there is nothing wrong with it. There is a feel that they are working very hard to overtake the Japanese and I usually feel that Korean cars, often give more value for money compared to that offered by the Japanese counterparts. The Rio is finished well and there are no mismatched panels or panels that are sitting skew. Everything is flush and looks good. There are 2 dual airbags and the Rio is also fitted with Stability control, meaning should anything ever get out of hand, the vehicle will do its best to keep things under control. Cabin space is pretty impressive, even for a 6 foot plus giant like myself, I do not feel cramped behind the wheel. The boot space is a generous 389liters too!
The suspension is Mc Pherson struts with torsion beams in the rear and yes as you can expect this is no sports car so there is a fair amount of body roll in the bends, however it’s acceptable and the car handles even the roughest road with ease. During our test we managed to drive a short gravel road and not once did the car feel uncomfortable. The 185/65/15inch wheels did a fine job of dampening all the bumps and gave the car a softer ride than the bigger 17inch wheel would. If ride quality is a concern, the 15inch wheels ride softer, no doubt.
The Kia Rio offers solid value for money and with its price of R159 995 including a 5 year /100 000km warranty, 3 year unlimited roadside assist and a 4 year / 60 000km service plan all included, it’s a very good deal!
Check out www.kia.co.za for more.