ONCE upon a time ‘‘cheap and cheerful’’ meant a Datsun 120Y with a smiley face painted on. Thankfully, a few decades on, the Kia Rio is in the picture.
You could go for the ultra-cheap base model for $12,990.
Spring for the four-speed auto for about $17,400 drive away and you’ll be a lot more cheerful than those who cheaped out on a base model when you inevitably get stuck in traffic.
But the Rio doesn’t stop at being cheap— it goes out of its way to save you money. Even with the 1.6-litre four cylinder engine (there’s also a 1.4-litre), speeding tickets will be the last thing on your mind.
That’s because you’ll start to feel sorry for it at about 6000 RPM — at which point you’ll be doing between 40 and 50km/h.
It can handle 100km/h, just give it time to get there and don’t be shy about putting the foot down on hills.
But you’re not buying a cheap car to break the sound barrier. If you’re determined to do so you could try driving it off something very, very tall — but that would void the Rio’s fiveyear unlimited kilometres warranty.
A small engine saves money on petrol. Who could fault fuel economy of 6.8 litres/100km?
The Rio will suit those who want a car to go from A to B. It ranges from average to brilliant on this front.
Handling in tight spaces, such as shopping plaza car parks, typifies the latter. Combine the responsive steering with its compact size and you can look forward to finally getting that Holy Grail car park near the doors.
But when you’re finished bargain hunting with all the money you’ve saved buying a cheap car the small