What is it?
Kia’s four-year-old Rio supermini, which has been given the lightest of mid-life nips and tucks.
Changes to the outside are only minor, and include new front and rear bumpers, a modified grille and a couple of blink-and-you’ll-miss-them detail changes to some of the exterior trim.
There are slightly more significant changes to the inside and on the spec list, where there are material and trim improvements aimed at improving perceived quality, while features on offer higher up the range now include a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system which includes sat-nav.
There are no mechanical changes or tweaks to the engine range, meaning buyers still get to choose from 1.1 and 1.4-litre diesel engines, and 1.25 and 1.4-litre petrols. It’s the 1.4-litre petrol with 107bhp that we’re testing here.
What's it like?
The petrol engine is one of those that needs to be really revved to do its best work. You don’t get into a Kia Rio expecting your socks to be blown off by the performance, but downsized turbo engines with plenty of low-end torque are now commonplace in the segment and able to give even most the humdrum of models a degree of spirited performance.
So the absence of one here is noticed. Kia is listening, though, and the firm’s recently revealed 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol turbo engine should make its way into the Rio over time.
Back to 2015 though, and while the 1.4 petrol unit here may lack spirited performance, it does at least return some decent economy figures. Something approaching 50mpg can be achieved on an average run, which is unusually close to the official figure of 56.5mpg - and that's something that can’t usually be said of a modern downsized turbo engine.
Kia’s 1.4 is also a quiet and refined unit and one that’s hooked up to a sweet-shifting six-speed manual gearbox.
Equally sweet is the ride quality of this car. It lacks the suppleness and maturity of the class's best, such as the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo, but the Rio has a comfortable ride quality, and that’s going to be a big box ticked for potential Rio buyers.