Room to rumba

The good-look­ing Rio topped the small-car field with space, safety gear and war­ranty

Herald Sun - Motoring - - USED CAR -

NEW

KIA took only a short time to gar­ner re­spect for its well-built, re­li­able and im­pres­sive range.

The fourth-gen­er­a­tion Rio was so well re­ceived it went straight to the top of the small car tree for most mo­tor­ing me­dia af­ter its 2011 launch.

The new Rio was not only good look­ing but was also a tad larger than the model it re­placed, be­ing 20mm longer and 25mm wider and with a 70mm longer wheel­base.

That added up to a roomier cabin with more pas­sen­ger space and a larger boot.

Kia built three body styles — three- and five-door hatches and a four-door sedan — in trim rang­ing from en­try level S to mid-range Si with a bit more gear and the range-top­ping SLi with even more equip­ment.

There were two four­cylin­der en­gines, a 1.4-litre that could only be de­scribed as ad­e­quate and a di­rect-in­jec­tion 1.6-litre, a much more at­trac­tive propo­si­tion with bet­ter drive­abil­ity and still de­cent fuel econ­omy.

Mak­ing the case for the 1.6-litre even more com­pelling is that it comes with a six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

Those who chose the 1.4-litre were lumped with a four-speeder. Of course those who didn’t want an au­to­matic could al­ways tick the box for a six-speed man­ual, although not many did.

The great news was all models in the range re­ceived a five-star safety tick from ANCAP for its six airbags and elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol.

On the road the Rio was im­pres­sively re­fined and com­fort­able for a small car. It had a pos­i­tive feel with a re­as­sur­ing bal­ance and wasn’t up­set by less than per­fect roads it en­coun­tered.

NOW

The five-year, un­lim­ited kilo­me­tres war­ranty was a big fac­tor in peo­ple con­sid­er­ing a Kia, in­clud­ing a Rio. That means only the old­est of this se­ries will be at the end of the war­ranty pe­riod, and the ma­jor­ity will still have some time to run. With the war­ranty trans­fer­able to a new owner, any­one buy­ing a used ex­am­ple now can do so with con­fi­dence of some cover.

The at­trac­tive war­ranty can also be taken as a mea­sure of the con­fi­dence the com­pany had in its cars, which ap­pears to be backed up by the ex­pe­ri­ence of the Rio own­ers we con­sulted.

None com­plained of any de­fects or prob­lems that might be at­trib­uted to poor de­sign or build qual­ity. All were con­tent with the over­all per­for­mance, and were happy to say so.

The most com­mon com­plaint was from own­ers with the 1.4-litre/four-speed auto drvi­etrain, who would have liked more per­for­mance.

In the past Kia was plagued by build qual­ity is­sues, most of them elec­tric re­lated. This se­ries Rio is part of a new gen­er­a­tion of bet­ter-built cars though it’s worth mak­ing a thor­ough check of the car to make sure all switches and cir­cuits are work­ing.

As al­ways check for a ser­vice record to make sure your car has been main­tained as per Kia’s rec­om­men­da­tion. It could be even more im­por­tant if you want to trans­fer the re­main­ing war­ranty. Kia might be re­luc­tant to roll over the war­ranty on a car that has a du­bi­ous ser­vice record.

OWN­ERS SAY

Peter Eis­felder My wife’s Rio has done 38,000km and has not given us any trou­ble. She uses it al­most daily for fairly short sub­ur­ban trips but about once a year I’ll take the wheel for a longer jour­ney. We are very happy with it. David Humphreys I’m a 71year-old re­tiree and the Rio suits me fine. It has nice wide door open­ings and plenty of stor­age and boot space, and the long war­ranty is very re­as­sur­ing. It is com­fort­able, and very eco­nom­i­cal but I would like a bit more power. Over­all, I’m very pleased.

Jean Jack­son My Rio has had an in­ter­mit­tent mis­fire since new. It’s been back to the dealer a num­ber of times but they haven’t been able to find the cause. I’m not happy.

Steve Mold­ers The spark plugs were re­placed in my Rio at 20,000km to cure the hard­start­ing and poor fuel econ­omy. It’s now done 55,000km and it’s be­com­ing hard to start again. The brakes were re­placed at 45,000km, and the tyres will soon need re­plac­ing.

Ian Mur­phy The Rio is a bril­liant lit­tle car. It’s roomy and com­fort­able. I have no com­plaints about mine at all.

SMITHY SAYS

Beaut lit­tle car you can buy with con­fi­dence.

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