Test Drive by Graham Breeze
Globally the Rio is Kia's best seller so will the introduction of an all-new 1.0litre model make the car a big hit in the UK?
The company described the fourth generation model as a "big little car" as it arrived this week, featuring an amazing new turbocharged one litre petrol engine at the head of a 10-model line-up.
I've been boring friends, family and readers about the brilliant range of one litre engines on the market these days and Kia bosses have also recognised the importance of getting in on the action, determined to carve out a bigger slice of the B-sector cake.
With the range revealed this week you'd be hard pressed not be overjoyed by the performance of the Rio 3 which comes with a 1.0litre T-GDi 99bhp engine, producing a top speed of 115mph, reaching 60mph in 10.3seconds, with average fuel consumption over 60mpg and C02 emissions of just 102g/km. That means it's just £30 to licence.
The1.0-litre T-GDi engine is offered in Rio for the first time and heads a seven-strong powertrain line-up which shows improvements in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions over the outgoing Rio
Just as I have been with Ford and Suzuki variations on the one litre theme I am completely gobsmacked at the gutsy performance of this offering from Kia and as a layman can only marvel at the technology behind such performance.
For the more technical reader out there it's an example of Kia's advanced engine technology capabilities through downsizing, turbocharging, direct fuel injection and weight reduction, with a number of detailed engineering solutions to minimise throttle lag and reduce internal friction.
But it's not all about what's under the bonnet because the Rio is a sharper looking car now, with a wider "tiger-nose" front grille, reshape headlights which incorporate impressive cornering lights and automatic main-beam dipping.
The new Rio is bigger too. There's a longer wheelbase, bonnet and front overhang and a lower roofline. There's also more shoulder room but although rear legroom has been increased it's still on the tight side in the back. There's 13% more boot room with the lifting back door opening to reveal 325 litres of space - just enough for the golf clubs.
There's still a lot of plastic inside the cabin which is dominated by a large touchscreen which incorporates Kia Connected Services and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration with access to the car's navigation and infotainment systems, and live traffic updates, weather reports and fixed speed camera locations.
In manual format the 1.0litre GTDi Rio has an intelligent Stop & Go (ISG) system to eliminate tailpipe emissions and a five-speed manual gearbox as standard.
There's no skimping when it comes to protecting driver and passengers, with a stiffened body shell to enhance crash safety while the front, rear and side crumple zones absorb impact energy.
There's also a raft of other safety features including Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) ,Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and a Lane Departure Warning system fitted as standard.
Rio comes with a seven-year/100,000-mile warranty covering all labour and parts except those subject to normal wear and tear. The warranty is transferable if the car is sold before the time/mileage limit expires.
The all-new Rio is also available with Care-3 and Care-3 Plus servicing packages for retail customers. These cover the cost of all routine servicing work for three or five years and, like the warranty, can be passed on if the car is sold before they expire.
Prices start at £11,995 though the 1.0litre G-TDi tested sells at £16,298 which is still a lot of money but competitive in the B-sector.
Will it be a UK success? Well only time will tell but no-one can doubt just how far the Kio Rio has come in the last few years.