The all-new Kia Rio is on sale in Britain today priced from £11,995, with first deliveries due next month.
The 2017 model is only available as a five-door with an evolved design over the current car; the three-door version has been ditched due to lack of demand.
Highlights of the new Rio include its higher quality and more spacious interior, improved infotainment, a new lightweight three-cylinder engine and ride and handling that are claimed to be improved over the current model.
Trim and prices
Four trim levels are available at launch, named 1, 2, 3 and a limited-run First Edition. The entry price applies to grade 1 cars, which come with air-con, front electric windows, heated and electric folding door mirrors, as well as a 3.8in display screen with Bluetooth connectivity as standard. There's also automatic lights, stability control and hill-start assist technology.
Above this, 2 models start at £13,745 and gain things such as 15in alloy wheels, a DAB radio and larger 5in screen. Rio 3s start at £16,295 and add 16in alloys, a 7in screen, rain-sensing wipers, sat-nav and Apple Carplay/Android Auto to the mix.
Top of the range at launch is the First Edition. It gets 17in alloys, a smart key entry system, stainless steel pedals, black and red faux leather upholstery and LED rear lights. Prices for this start at £17,445.
Engine and gearbox
Headlining the engine range in the new Rio is a new three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbocharged unit, which is tipped to be the best seller. It’s offered in 99bhp or 118bhp power outputs, with both engines producing the same 127lb ft of torque.
The engine’s light weight should help improve handling, Kia claims. It produces 102g/km of CO2.
Two normally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engines – an 84bhp, 90lb ft 1.25-litre and a 99bhp, 97lb ft 1.4-litre – are also offered alongside a 1.4-litre turbodiesel with either 69bhp or 89bhp. The diesel will be the most economical Rio in the range and will have CO2 emissions of 92g/km.
The car will be manual-only at launch, with a five-speed gearbox on the 84bhp 1.25 and 99bhp 1.0 petrols and six-speeder used on all other versions.
The new Rio has been given a 10mm increase in wheelbase to improve cabin space as part of a 15mm overall increase in length. The Rio is also slightly lower than before, while the width remains the same. Boot space has been increased from 288 litres to 325 litres, which eclipses key rivals including the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Volkswagen Polo.
The car is built on an all-new platform, with MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam at the rear. The bodyshell has been made stiffer than the existing Rio’s, the suspension has been made more rigid, new dampers have been fitted, and there are revised spring and damper settings, all of which Kia claims leads to a more comfortable ride and “more agile and immediate handling”.
Martins said that the Fiesta had been the benchmark for handling for the new Rio, and the Polo had been the benchmark for comfort.