Tag Archives: Rio

Forget football and Brazil – the Rio is a foxy car for females

A FOXY Car Review by Steph Savill

carreviewIt was Mothers Day, I got taken out for lunch, the sun shone on the Saturday and then it snowed on the Sunday… Ah yes I remember the weekend I test drove the new Kia Rio very well indeed!

And it’s not just me that the Rio has made a good impression on – since the ‘new’ Rio model arrived in UK showrooms it’s collected a load of best car awards which is always a good thing to consider.

Sadly, unless you’re a female following FIFA or UEFA football games, the Australian Open or cricket at the Oval (that Kia sponsor), you mightn’t know all that much about this particular car brand despite its ‘family friendly’ marketing plans.

So this car review is for women who mightn’t be footie fans or petrolheads even but still want to know about the safety, reliability and practicality of their new car choices when it’s shopping time.

Let’s start by introducing Kia as a Korean brand with a European manufacturing plant in Slovakia and an industry leading 7 year warranty, which will surely reassure you about the reliability you can expect from their cars. And the car model I am writing about here is their Rio ‘2’ in the photo below, a 1.4 litre petrol engine with 3 doors and a 6 speed manual gearbox, supplied by Birchwood Group’s West Sussex Motors in Washington.

Good looks

Kia_Rio_daffs_March 2013The ‘new’ Rio has had a style makeover, adding a new ‘tiger-nose’ grille giving it a sporty stance and what they call ‘a muscular rear.’ The male equivalent of Pippa Middleton I expected… silly me.

It looks smart, the lines are clean and there are two body-styles depending on whether it’s the 3-door (ie wider front doors for easier back seat access) or the 5-door version.

The car comes in 4 different models – the ‘1’, the ‘1 Air’, the ‘2’ and the top of the range Rio ‘3’.

My car was in silver metallic paint with 16 inch alloys, a chrome surround grille and electrically folding and heated wing mirrors (which came in handy when it snowed) with integrated indicator lights. It had an attractive looking dashboard, a leather trimmed steering wheel & gear stick and was nicely upholstered in a quality black cloth. A stylish combination but, having raised my expectations here, I found the car ‘rear’ to be disappointingly ordinary if I’m honest

Value for money

The Rio range includes many features that aren’t always standard elsewhere, such as electric windows, central locking, Bluetooth, USB and AUX ports (all rated as impressive by my gadget loving son) with stereo controls mounted on the steering wheel. I was particularly reassured by the Vehicle Stability Management, Electronic Stability Control and Emergency Stop Signalling safety features across the Rio range.

Granted the diesel models have the lower emissions (starting from 85 g/km) and better fuel consumption as a result but you’re still getting impressive fuel consumption of c50mpg for a combination of city and motorway driving. The 6 speed gearbox makes motorway journeys especially economic.

Driving performance

Petrol engines are usually zippier to drive than diesels and this one comes in 1.25 and 1.4 litre engine options and a 6 speed gearbox. There’s an automatic version as well. I found it agile on a combination of dual carriageways and rural roads in Sussex. The 16 inch alloys meant it was quiet over bumps and it cornered well. Of particular note were the responsive brakes and the fact that when the engine was running, you couldn’t hear it. In fact it was so quiet my husband thought it had a Stop ‘n’ Start gearbox and had switched itself off at the lights. It hadn’t!

The practicalities

Kia_Rio_interior_March 2013The back seats fold down 60:40 to allow for extra space when needed. Even without this the boot seemed quite roomy to me.

I’d choose the 5 door model given the choice but my son still found it easy to get in the back via the front doors.

There was plenty of legroom front and back and the cabin felt a lot more roomy than the exterior of the car might suggest.

If you buy the Rio ‘3’ it comes with rear parking sensors which I’d probably opt for.

The radio and IPod settings were simple, even for me and particularly important on this Mothers Day – the heater worked quickly and efficiently thank goodness…


As you can glean from all this and the FOXY Facts below, Kia has a good pedigree and the Rio’s safety and reliability credentials are reassuring. Just as important to many women, this is a car you can probably get into and feel sufficiently confident to drive off in within minutes. It just feels familiar.

This matters because many women aren’t as confident test driving an unfamiliar new car as men – which may explain why many of us stick with the brand we know.

I felt instantly comfortable in the driving position, the seat was easy to adjust, I had excellent all-round visibility and the driving controls felt handy and familiar as well as intuitive.

On the minus side I struggled to get the gear shift into reverse and whilst my husband could do this with ease I wondered if it might be something to do with hand size (or just a wimpy me this time around)?

But apart from this tiny niggle this is an award-winning car I’d happily recommend to women for safe and easy motoring.

Steph Savill

Model tested: Kia Rio ‘2’ 1.4 petrol engine, 3 door, 6-speed manual gearbox and ISG (ie Intelligent Stop and Go).
RRP: The new Rio range starts from £9245. The Rio 2 1.4 petrol engine costs £11295. Metallic paint adds £445.
Buying discounts: West Sussex Motors has a scrappage scheme which would be the best offer whilst it lasts. Otherwise Kia savings of £1400 on the ‘2’ model apply until 30 June 2013.
Fuel economy: MPG is Urban 39.2, Extra Urban 62.8 and Combined 51.4
Insurance group: 8 ie should prove fairly cheap to insure
Road tax/VED: £100 (nil for entry diesel model)
Safety: 5 Star Euro NCap rating (2011) incorporating Adult, Child, Pedestrian and Safety Assist tests. This is an improvement over the 2009 4 star rating and includes 6 airbags as standard.
Reliability: An above average number 35 in the Top 100 cars chart in the Reliability Index – this is based on claims made under warranty so again, it’s based on older models.
Environmental C02 rating: 128gsm.