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