What is it?
It’s the new Kia Rio, billing for which hasn’t caused much of a blip in the automotive industry for the past decade. But while previous incarnations of the car haven’t been that exciting, this one does have the potential to shake up the Fiesta/Polo/Corsa segment; it’s Kia’s first attack on that area of the market since it stepped up a gear with the Cee’d.
The Kia Rio takes on styling cues from that model, plus the more recent Sportage, to further develop Kia design chief Peter Schreyer’s edgy styling. It also grows, with a wheelbase that stretches by 70mm over the old car’s. As such, it’s almost 10cm longer than a Fiesta, and more than that amount clear of the Hyundai i20. It’ll be offered as a five-door initially, although a three-door variant will follow early in 2012.
The engine line-up comprises two petrols - a 1.2 (shared with the latest Picanto) and a 1.4 - and a pair of diesels, a 1.4 and the 1.1-litre three-pot tested here. The baby oil-burner is arguably the most interesting unit of the lot - it can offer CO2 emissions of as little as 85g/km when equipped with stop-start - and while Kia has yet to confirm that it’ll make it to the UK, we’ll be surprised if it doesn’t.