What is it?
This will always be the moment in history when Kia got serious about superminis. It has been clear since the new Rio's static launch in Geneva last March that with this new, third generation model, the company was moving rapidly up the class pecking order.
The Rio is now a longer, lower, wider, better equipped and much better looking model - in a class where no fewer than 45 nameplates do battle. What we didn't know, until now, was how it performed.
What’s it like?
We took to the road in the new transverse front drive 1.4-litre, 89bhp diesel Rio, which emits just 109g/km of CO2, and took a shorter drive in the 108bhp, 1.4-litre stop-start petrol version, whose emissions are hardly greater at 119 g/km.
Both cars confirmed that the Rio - 4405mm long, so one of the biggest and roomiest cars in is class - offers truly surprising big-car refinement: low wind and road noise, surprisingly little tyre noise over bumps, and very well suppressed engine noise.
The petrol model is by far the zippier, accelerating from 0-62 mph in 11.5 seconds to a 114mph top speed, whereas the diesel can only manage 14.4 seconds and 108mph, and feels surprisingly flat at around 2000 rpm, where most diesels are torquey.