Chris Miller road tests and reviews the 2013 Kia Rio.
Kia is well and truly on a winner with the honest and utterly likeable Kia Rio.
As tested in petrol guise, the 1.6 litre, producing 103kW and 167Nm, is a peppy little performer when hooked up to the 6-speed automatic, which thankfully doesn’t follow the current CVT trend.
Off the line and around town, the 2013 Kia Rio is good fun, easily keeping up with traffic without seeming laboured, and on the highway it delivers a quiet and comfortable cruise.
It’s only when you push the little Kia Rio that it begins to show some rough edges. At the top of the rev range the 1.6 does gets a bit thrashy, producing lots of noise but not much accompanying pace.
The electric power steering is light, making shopping centres and school car parks easy places to negotiate, but at higher speeds it can feel a bit twitchy and isn’t particularly communicative.
Fuel economy, while not class leading, still receives a big tick. We returned an average of 6.3 litres per 100km, over about 800km, with no thought given to economical driving.
The ride is surprisingly compliant considering the length of the wheelbase and the low profile tyres, and while big bumps and potholes can upset the Kia Rio, the Australian tune to the suspension shines through.
Space is not at a premium inside the cabin, with plenty of head and legroom, and even in the back there’s not a hint of claustrophobia. There’s a good-sized space under the rear hatch, and as you’d expect, the rear seats fold down to offer a surprisingly large cargo area.
The standard inclusion list on the Kia Rio puts a lot of other car-makers to shame, with a ripper audio system with full Bluetooth connectivity, electric everything (apart from seats), auto headlights, LED daytime running lights and cruise control.
The lack of a reversing camera though was a disappointment.
The soft touch plastics used in the cabin of the Kia Rio are pleasing to the eye and add an air of refinement, and the cloth trim is funky and functional.
Safety features aren’t skimped on either, with Front, Side & Curtain Airbags, ABS, Stability & Traction Control and Hill Start Assist.
The exterior wins many friends with a design that is somehow masculine without being aggressive, and the 16-inch alloys really look the part.
At $21,990 as tested, the top of the range 5-door auto Kia Rio has many competitors, some of which offer more space and features. But for the 3-door manual base model, which kicks of at $15,290, the value on offer is exceptional.
Combined with a 5 year unlimited kilometre warranty, and Kia’s capped price servicing schedule, the lifetime cost of ownership is negligible.
With an affable, easygoing nature, good looks and plenty of value, the 2013 Kia Rio is a real contender in the small car stakes and should be on the shopping list of any buyer in this category.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 1.6 litre petrol producing 103kW and 167Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic
Safety: Five stars
Warranty: 5 years
Origin: South Korea
Price: From $15,290