Review: Kia Rio Mk4 (Overall score = 4.5/5)

You could be forgiven for looking at these pictures and thinking we’ve reviewed the outgoing Rio by mistake, but we can promise you it’s the fourth-generation model that’s just arriving in a showroom near you. Keen to retain the corporate look, Kia has played it safe with its new Fiesta rival, which carries over most of its engines from the previous model, although a three-cylinder turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol unit has been added to the range. The interior has been spruced up, there’s improved connectivity and extra driver aids, and while there used to be a three-door option the new Rio comes only in five-door hatchback form.

Kia Rio console

Cabin (4.5/5)

The cabin’s conventional design makes it very easy to live with; the fascia and instrumentation are intuitively laid out, although the multi-function steering wheel is perhaps a bit too busy for comfort. The touch-screen multimedia works like a smart phone (in that you swipe it) and it’s simplicity itself to use, whatever mode you’re in (music, phone, navigation); the screen becomes a monitor for the rear parking camera, when fitted.

Our test car’s cabin initially felt claustrophobic, things not helped by the privacy glass, but it’s actually decently spacious. The sloping roofline means anybody over six feet tall will be short of head room, but leg room is good and the back seat is more supportive than most – just like the front seats. Throw in a capacious boot along with plenty of oddments storage space and the Rio offers comfort, ease of use and practicality.

Rio rear seats

Driving (4.5/5)

We sampled the new 1.0T three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine in five-speed 99bhp form (there’s also a six-speed 118bhp option), and the familiar 1.4 CRDi diesel, which both offer economy with refinement. The diesel offers usefully more low-down muscle and it gets an extra gear ratio, but both powerplants are flexible, smooth and have a linear power delivery. The Rio is very easy to drive (if rather soulless), thanks to its light steering and pedals, a slick gearchange and a ride that majors on comfort rather than sportiness. While all-round visibility is generally good, the shallow rear window reduces rearward vision, but not to the point where it should become a problem.

Rio Rear

Costs (5/5)

Prices start at £11,995 for a 1.25 Rio 1 and rise to £17,245 for the 1.4 CRDi Rio 3. Entry-level Rios come with air-con, electric front windows, Bluetooth, 3.8-inch touch-screen display, Hill Start Assist and electrically adjustable heated door mirrors. Grade 2 adds powered rear windows, rear parking sensors and camera, city braking and speed limiter plus a five-inch display. The range-topping Rio 3 gets climate control, seven-inch display, heated front seats and steering wheel, navigation and automatic wipers.

We’d be inclined to opt for a 99bhp Rio 2 1.0 T-GDi which is priced at £14,545 and sits in insurance group 8. While all Rios have to be serviced annually, there’s a 10,000-mile limit for petrol cars but the diesels double this to 20,000 miles. Servicing packages are available; Care 3 and Care 3 Plus take care of everything for three and five years respectively. They’re priced at £299 and £599 for diesel Rios, while petrols are pitched at £409 and £799. Throw in an industry-leading seven-year/100,000-mile warranty and it’s easy to see why the Rio makes so much sense; while the third edition was an easy car to recommend, this fourth iteration is even better.

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