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.