The safe and reliable Kia has an outstanding reputation among owners — and for good reason
The once cheap-and-cheerful Kia is now a respected, sought after brand, with cars that have won a place in the hearts and minds of local car buyers. The Rio is a standout among them.
The UB series Rio arrived here in 2011 with the choice of three body styles, a sedan and three and five-door hatches in four grades, S, Si, SLI, and SLS.
The attractive styling took in a new corporate grille, fresh flowing lines and a pleasing shape.
The cabin was light and airy, it was also a pleasant place to be with comfortable seats, good quality fit and finish, and appealing materials.
Up to five could be accommodated if needed but four was more comfortable. The generous boot could be expanded in the hatch by folding the rear seat.
Engine options were a 1.4litre four that powered the base model S, and a peppier 1.6-litre that gave the Si, SLi and SLS their zip.
Buyers of the S had the choice of a four-speed auto and a six-speed manual gearbox. Those who opted for higher spec could have the manual or a six-speed auto.
On the road, the performance of the base model was adequate but not thrilling with its small engine, particularly as the four-speed dampened things quite a bit. The SL, SLi and SLS on the other hand performed well with their larger engines and the auto’s extra ratios.
The ride was comfortable, and the handling was agile and responsive. All round it was well regarded car, as the many motoring awards it won would indicate — it was Carsguide’s 2011 Car of the Year.
The improvement in Kia cars hasn’t just been skin deep; it has gone much deeper with much improved engineering and build quality that add up to better reliability and more rewarding ownership.
Judging by the comments of Rio owners we consulted the little Kia is doing just fine. None talked of having any problems — all said their cars were performing faultlessly, which should give prospective used buyers plenty of confidence.
They should also be comforted by the knowledge that the Rio came with a fiveyear warranty when new, some of which will still be left on cars delivered after 2012.
Quality of engineering and build go a long way to assuring reliability but don’t account for uncaring or neglectful owners. The Rio was popular with rental companies, so be wary of any car you look at and avoid cars that have been renters.
When inspecting it look for bumps and scrapes on the panel work, wear and tear in inside trim, and any untidiness that might suggest the seller doesn’t care about the car.
Servicing is also critical, so check the car’s logbook, which should show a routine of regular maintenance by a qualified mechanic or authorised service agent.
Both Kia engines have cam timing chains, which eliminates the need for servicing in that area. Further good news is there have been no recalls of the UB Rio to date.
Robyn Kadell We have owned two Rios, a 2007 and now a 2014, and we’ve found them to be very reliable, economical and affordable cars.
Jenny Clarke My husband is an Australia Post mail contractor in a rural area. He travels 350km per day, every working day of the year over all sorts of roads. Our first Rio was a 2009 and it did 285,000km before we replaced it with a 2013 model, which has done 238,000km. It is serviced every 15,000km and has only had the brake pads replaced in four years of heavy use. It starts first time every time, has no squeaks or rattles, just a few dents from stray kangaroos. They have been fabulous little cars; they look snazzy, are easy to drive, have all the mod cons and are comfortable to ride in. I can’t recommendit highly enough.
Mike Bowen I can’t speak highly enough of my 2013 Si manual. It’s a pleasure to drive, is safe, economical, comfortable and has a full-size alloy spare.
Steven Edwards My 2014 Si is the best car I’ve ever owned. It’s now done 50,000km and I have not had any problems with it at all. It feels solid on the road, looks good inside and out, and is economical around town and on the highway.
Well-built, safe and reliable, it should be high on your small car shopping list.