Little touch of luxury
It gets factory-fitted leather seats and glass sunroof. The range-topping Rio SLi’s leather trim and sunroof bring a touch of luxury to this mainstream model. Other extras include factory-tinted rear glass, cruise control and night-time turning lights — when you indicate at low speeds, an extra lamp temporarily illuminates the corner you’re about to turn into, quite a deft touch.
listed drive-away price is steep. Kia’s website says the SLi is an eye-watering $26,500 driveaway (metallic paint at $520 pushes it over $27,000). That’s thousands dearer than cars in the next class up (Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, Hyundai i30). We reckon you ought to pay no more than $21,300 drive-away (which is still steep) based on the $5100 discount on the base Rio S. Such a discount is not at the dealer’s discretion as there is not that much profit in cars in this price bracket — the deal on the S is supported by Kia head office. So if you want an SLi, ask the dealer if Kia will extend the bonus from the base car to the SLi.
For all the luxury, there is no sensor key. There are smartphone pairing and rear-view camera but you still get an old-school ignition slot in the steering column and a flick key. A sensor key and push-button start would help justify the premium price.
still as cheap to service as the base model. Because it has the same 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine (matched to a four-speed auto), it has the same low servicing costs, fair intervals (12 months/15,000km) and seven-year unlimited kilometre warranty as the Rio S, which aced the field for value and won our city car comparison earlier in the year.
fine to drive but not quite the class benchmark. It’s roomy, good-looking and good to drive but it isn’t as razor-sharp as, for example, the Mazda2 or Suzuki Swift. But the Rio is a comfortable city car, soaking up bumps well. It also feels safe and secure on the road, although the wet weather grip of the tyres could be better.