The third-generation Rio’s handling was some way short of compelling. This would have been less of a problem for it if the car didn’t necessarily rub shoulders with some standout supermini specimens; but now the Kia’s Ford Fiesta, Mini Cooper, Seat Ibiza and Mazda 2 rivals provide concrete evidence of the sporty and engaging dynamic compromise that can be successfully struck in a supermini.
The latest Rio, although dynamically competent, provides no additional evidence that Kia’s engineers are any closer to reproducing such a savvy state of chassis tune.
Instead, they have persisted with something of a route-one approach, and produced a car that is easy to use and operate; competent and contained both in town and out of it; but ultimately not very memorable. Something firmer than a VW Polo, but plainly less agile and vivacious than a Ford Fiesta or Renault Clio. Something middle of the road almost by design.
The Rio's ride is medium-sprung; firm at times around town, when dealing with bigger inputs particularly, and guilty of seeming just a little wooden and under-isolated over rougher Tarmac. At higher speeds, though, that firmness of both spring and damper makes for good body control even when you're hurrying it along. You wouldn't call the result fun, and it could be more fluent-handling, too; but, even at B-road speeds, the Rio works well.