Give in to the rhythm

. . . and go the Rio, Rio de Kia — it ticks all the light-car class boxes

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH

NEW The Rio was the car that kicked Kia’s Aus­tralian sales into gear in 2000. Be­fore that the cars from the Korean maker were known for their cheap- and­cheer­ful pric­ing and lit­tle else.

In Si trim, it was Cars­guide’s 2011 Car of the Year. Be­yond the pric­ing the build qual­ity was aver­age at best and re­li­a­bil­ity wasn’t that great ei­ther. But as with other auto in­vaders that have landed here over the years, mat­ters im­proved and the Rio was the car that led the way.

By 2011, when the new UB se­ries Rio hit the mar­ket, Kia had un­der­gone a trans­for­ma­tion and its cars, the Rio in­cluded, were get­ting at­ten­tion for the right rea­sons.

There were three mod­els in the new Rio range, the S, Si, and SLi, and three body styles: three-door hatch, five-door hatch and four-door sedan.

All fea­tured the new cor­po­rate grille and their clean, flow­ing lines and solid pro­por­tions added up to an at­trac­tive car by any mea­sure.

Slide into the cabin and you were greeted by an equally at­trac­tive in­te­rior with com­fort­able seats, qual­ity fit and fin­ish, and ap­peal­ing ma­te­ri­als.

The cabin was light and airy with room enough for four adults in com­fort, and five if needed. Add to that a roomy boot space, which could be ex­panded in the hatch by fold­ing the rear seat.

Kia’s en­gine op­tions were a 1.4‒litre four that pow­ered the base model S, and a pep­pier 1.6‒litre for the Si and SLi.

Buy­ers of the S could choose from a four-speed auto and a six‒speed man­ual. Those who opted for the Si or SLi had the choice of a six-speed auto as well as the six-speed man­ual.

On the blacktop the Rio per­formed ad­mirably, with good per­for­mance, par­tic­u­larly from the larger en­gine, and the re­spon­sive trans­mis­sion. The ride was quite com­fort­able, the han­dling ag­ile and re­spon­sive. NOW The good news for any­one think­ing of buy­ing a Rio is that the bad old days are long gone. You no longer have to jus­tify your pur­chase on the ba­sis it was cheap — cur­rent Kia cars are ones you want to own.

Bet­ter fun­da­men­tal en­gi­neer­ing and de­cent build qual­ity add up to re­li­a­bil­ity and a more en­joy­able own­er­ship ex­pe­ri­ence. These could not be guar­an­teed be­fore the new gen­er­a­tion mod­els ar­rived.

We get few com­plaints about the Rio at Cars­guide, which con­firms the be­lief that the cars are hit­ting the mark with own­ers.

Qual­ity of en­gi­neer­ing and pro­duc­tion go a long way to en­sur­ing you get a good run from your car. But the other im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion is ser­vice and main­te­nance, and for that you need to con­sult the ser­vice book to see that your cho­sen car has been ser­viced reg­u­larly and ac­cord­ing to Kia’s rec­om­men­da­tions.

The cam-tim­ing belt needs to be changed at 100,000km, so make sure it has been if the car you’re think­ing of buy­ing has passed that mark. Also check the car’s electrics as these can fail. En­sure all sys­tems — air, cruise, Blue­tooth etc — are work­ing be­fore you sign.

The great thing about the Rio is that it had Kia’s five-year war­ranty, which means that even the ear­li­est UB mod­els are still cov­ered by the fac­tory. SMITHY SAYS The Rio ticks the boxes in the light-car class; it’s well worth adding to your shop­ping list.

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