Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - MOTORING -

Yes, yes, we know that these days the vast ma­jor­ity of new ve­hi­cles sold in New Zealand have au­to­matic trans­mis­sions.

And we agree that’s the way mo­tor­ing should be head­ing, be­cause many of our modern-day au­tos are so light­ning-fast and ef­fi­cient that they per­form much bet­ter than your av­er­age driver can hope to achieve with a clutch and a gear­stick.

But every now and again we come across a ve­hi­cle which does bet­ter with a man­ual trans­mis­sion than it does with an au­to­matic. And our lat­est such ex­am­ple is the Kia Rio hatchback.

This is an ex­cel­lent lit­tle hatch that of­fers a very cheer­ful drive. It’s avail­able with LX, EX and Lim­ited lev­els of spec­i­fi­ca­tion and with RRP’s that range from

$22,490 through to $26,990. But de­spite that price spread, all the Rios are es­sen­tially the same cars un­der­neath – and they are all pow­ered by the same 1.4-litre petrol en­gine that of­fers 74 kilo­watts of power and 133 new­ton me­tres of torque.

Those power and torque fig­ures are mod­est and they are reached quite high up the

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