car news kia rio

All new Kia Rio hits the road

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All-new Kia Rio has a fresh look, new computer screen – same old engine

A slick new Kia Rio has hit Aussie roads with enhanced ride and handling, improved safety and full connectivity with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

At this stage the fourth generation Rio comes with only the one engine option, the 1.4-litre four that powered the previous entry model, with a modest 74kW of power and 133Nm of torque.

What’s more you can only get it with a 6-speed manual or (clears throat) a 4-speed auto.

No sign of the excellent 1.6 direct injection four that was offered with higher grades before.

But all is not lost because a more powerful 1.0-litre, three cylinder turbo is under consideration and expected to make an appearance mid-year.

With 88kW of power and 172Nm of torque, the tiny three pot will be matched with a 6-speed manual or 7-speed twin clutch tranny – the latter as seen in Hyundais like the Veloster.

Sounds promising but of course the turbo engines are high maintenance, with 6-month or 7500km service intervals.

Rio is Kia’s best selling Australian model with more than 6000 sales last year.

“While the days of Kia being the Rio car company in Australia are long past, the model remains a core plank in the growth and success of the brand in our market,” Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer, Damien Meredith said.

“With the improvements and the additional technology and connectivity in the all-new Rio we expect it to remain one of the primary drivers of increased sales and brand awareness in the Australian market.”

With a dash angled towards the driver pride of the place in the cabin goes to the large, 7-inch floating touchscreen, a la Mazda.

It will be included in all models along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which allow control some phone features from the car’s screen, including navigation if you have a model that isn’t so equipped.

It will also be the first car in the segment to be equipped with USB ports front and back.

Below the floating screen the driver-oriented centre console features fewer buttons, with more ergonomic, concave switches.

New Rio is larger than before with a 10mm longer wheelbase which means more room inside.

Although it retains a basic torsion beam rear suspension, a more rigid chassis and better shock absorbers have allowed Kia’s engineers to tune the setup to produce a sportier feel, with better ride and handling.

Luggage capacity increases by 37 litres to 325 litres and is among the best in class.

Thankfully the ugly rear styling of the current model has finally gone.

In terms of safety new Rio comes with six airbags, plus rear parking sensors and a reverse camera with parking guides that move are standard on all models.

Automatic braking however remains absent.

Pricing:

S manual:        $16,990
S auto:             $19,090
Si auto:            $21,490
SLi auto:          $22,990