Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - MOTORING -

rev­o­lu­tions band – 6000rpm for the power and 4000rpm for the torque – which means this nat­u­rally-as­pi­rated en­gine has to be worked harder than the newage small ca­pac­ity tur­bocharged en­gines now un­der the bon­nets of sev­eral of our small cars.

In other words, you’ve got to keep your revs up.

All this came to mind when we ac­cepted an op­por­tu­nity to do a back-to-back test of two of the new Rios. The first was the least ex­pen­sive ver­sion, a $22,490 en­try LX with a six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion, and the sec­ond was the most ex­pen­sive, a $26,990 Lim­ited with a four-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

Now 133 new­ton me­tres isn’t a lot of torque, par­tic­u­larly when an en­gine has to be turn­ing over at 4000rpm to ac­cess it all. But that’s the down­side of a small­ca­pac­ity nor­mally as­pi­rated petrol en­gine. Com­pare that, for in­stance, to small tur­bocharged en­gines such as the lit­tle 1.0-litre EcoBoost en­gine aboard the Ford Fi­esta – all that forced air helps de­velop 170 new­ton me­tres from just 1400rpm.

We weren’t long into our drive of the Rio LX man­ual when this lack of bot­tom-end torque man­i­fested it­self – we were head­ing up an ur­ban hill at

50kmh in fourth gear when sud­denly there was noth­ing there, prompt­ing us to quickly chop down into third then sec­ond in our ef­fort to keep the lit­tle Kia on­song.

This wasn’t an is­sue – in fact it was fun; it re­minded us of what most mo­torists had to do a few years ago when man­ual trans­mis­sions were a lot more com­mon. Even bet­ter, the Rio’s man­ual was easy to op­er­ate. So for the re­main­der of our time with the car we rowed through the gears so rev­o­lu­tions could re­main ap­pro­pri­ate for our speed and the ter­rain be­ing en­coun­tered.

The Rio’s man­ual is a sixspeeder too, which means that out on the open road the ve­hi­cle is quite long in the legs. As a re­sult it boasts an of­fi­cial av­er­age fuel con­sump­tion fig­ure of 5.6 L/100km, which is su­pe­rior to the 6.2 L/100km of­fered by the au­to­matic ver­sions of the Rio.

As we men­tioned ear­lier, the au­to­matic trans­mis­sion aboard the Rio is a four-speeder which these days isn’t many ra­tios at all – most to­day are six-speed­ers and more; in fact we re­cently drove a top-end sportscar with a 10-speed

The new Kia Rio. This is the top model, the Lim­ited.

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