Kia Motors seems to have permanent status as one of the world’s fastest-growing car-makers, and no doubt the launch of the new Kia Rio will only help the company to further expand and grow.

Having smashed through the two-million-units-a-year barrier in 2010, however, the firm’s sales continue to climb more quickly in China and North America than they do in Europe.

That relatively untapped potential in European market growth is what the new Kia Rio has been designed to exploit.

Unlike its more one-dimensional forebears, this new five-door supermini offers appealing style and tangible quality as well as typical Kia brand value – or so its maker claims. 

We’ll be explaining just how much substance there is behind those claims over the next few pages.

Kia can already claim a real coup for the Rio. Fitted with a 1.1-litre, three-cylinder engine, the 74bhp entry-level turbodiesel Rio five-door is among the most economical combustion-engined series production cars in the world, with 88.3mpg on the combined cycle – again, so they say.

The rest of the engine range is made up of less headline-grabbing powerplants, ranging upwards from an entry-level 1.25-litre, 84bhp petrol, through a 1.4-litre, 107bhp petrol, to include a 1.4-litre, 89bhp CRDI turbodiesel.

Top 5 Superminis

  • Ford Fiesta
    Fiestas sold in Europe are ostensibly the same as those sold in America and Asia

    Ford Fiesta

    1
  • Mini Cooper
    Its various improvements make the new Mini more desirable and practical than ever before

    Mini Cooper

    2
  • The Mazda 2
    The Mazda 2 name dates back to 2002. This latest version showcases the firm's Skyactiv technology and 'Kodo' styling

    Mazda 2

    3
  • Volkswagen Polo
    The Polo is a polished, mature-feeling, spacious supermini

    Volkswagen Polo

    4
  • Renault Clio
    Distinctive styling details are taken from the showstopping Renault Dezir concept car

    Renault Clio

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Kia range

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    4 May 2016
    The new Edge SUV is looking to steal sales from BMW and Audi, but has it got enough of an edge to make that happen?
  • First Drive
    3 May 2016
    New entry-level 1.8 TFSI engine takes over from Audi's 2.0 TFSI as the cheapest way into a TT Roadster, but is it necessarily the best choice?
  • First Drive
    3 May 2016
    Audi's SQ7 is silly fast, and makes a silly noise, at a silly price – but contains tech that will prove incredibly influential
  • First Drive
    2 May 2016
    There's lots of work yet to be done, but the Aston Martin DB11's hardware has been signed-off. To experience it, we've driven a prototype
  • First Drive
    1 May 2016
    If you like Minis, going quickly and basking in the sun, then you're in luck; we've driven Mini's new John Cooper Works Convertible on foreign roads