Small won­der

The safe and re­li­able Kia has an out­stand­ing rep­u­ta­tion among own­ers — and for good rea­son

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Used Car -

NEW

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.

NOW

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.

OWN­ERS SAY

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.

SMITHY SAYS

Well-built, safe and re­li­able, it should be high on your small car shop­ping list.

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