Kia's latest Rio

supermini

Kia Rio, front
Kia Rio, front
Kia Rio, front
Kia Rio, front
Kia Rio, rear
Kia Rio, rear
Kia Rio, boot
Kia Rio, interior

WHEN all is said and done, one car maker really has the edge when it comes to buying your new car.

All of today's cars are pretty closely matched when it comes to performance, economy and low emissions in each class.

But Kia is the only one that's so sure of the reliability of its range that it gives an unbeaten seven year warranty good for no less than 100,000 miles.

And as if that was not enough for those who keep their cars for many years, this excellent cover is transferable to new owners if they decide to change earlier.

Put that together with cars like the latest Rio supermini, which gets close to the best in class and I think you have a pretty unbeatable combination for a new car that comes with real peace of mind.

I recently drove the Rio in mid-range ‘2' specification, powered by the latest engine from the company - a 1.0-litre turbo petrol packing a very good punch.

All the car makers are moving in the smaller turbo direction now, to gain better economy and lower emissions without losing performance.

The little three cylinder engine in this one is more powerful than many 1.6 units a few years ago, and has about the same output as the 1.4 petrol also available in the range.

It's smooth and tuneful, quiet at the cruise, and delivers good acceleration from above 2,000 revs. But it's also free revving and that's unlike most other small turbos, which have lower red lines.

Drive is to the front wheels of course, through a quick changing five speed gearbox, and best acceleration for overtaking is in thirdgear.

Fourth has reasonable urge but fifthis really a cruising gear. There is a little thrum from the engine if it's asked to pull from low revs, but it will do so with a gentle accelerator.

A good engine doesn't make a good car, but the Rio has much more to offer. It rides comfortably over just about every surface at speed, and still remains mainly comfortable in town.

The road holding is excellent on dry roads, with brilliant grip and a very stable feel through the corners.

And the whole car feels great out on the road. Although you might think the little engine would be more suited to urban use, it is more than capable of longer motorway journeys, where that comfortable ride really tells.

The standard stop/start works well to help lower emissions and push up economy, and I would expect a real driving average of 45-50 miles per gallon - with that all important gentle right foot.

Equipment in ‘2' spec includes DAB stereo, very supportive cloth seats, cruise, height and reach adjustable column and height adjustable driver's seat.

It also come with stability control, alarm, aircon and alloys, as well as rear parking sensors with a camera and electric windows and mirrors.

FAST FACTS

Price: £15,035

Mechanical: 99bhp, 998cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 115mph

0-62mph: 10.3 seconds

Combined MPG: 62.8

Insurance Group: 8

C02 emissions: 102g/km

Bik rating: 19%

Warranty: 7yrs/100,000 miles

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