Editor: Jason “The Bok” Date – 08 Feb 2018

In 2011 we saw the previous generation Rio launch in South Africa, and its blend of compact, yet comprehensive dimensions proved somewhat of a hit for the brand with Kia Motors SA claiming over 37,000 vehicles sold within our borders.

This is the new Rio, now 15 mm longer, 5 mm lower and with a wheelbase increased by 10 mm. There is a lot more to get excited about than just an increase in size though! The new car features enhanced styling, new LED lights feature on the higher-end models, while all models feature the bold, stylish and pronounced “Tiger Nose” grille design and a range of impressive alloys.

New Levels Of Luxury & Tech

This latest generation Rio offers a true sense of luxury premium build quality, this of which greatly exceeds that of its predecessor. Much like in the new Picanto, tactile soft surfaces and clean classy lines adorn the interior space. On the TEC spec, for instance, the inclusion of an easy to operate 7-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto makes for an impressively easy to operate and bang-up-to-date multimedia system.


ISOFIX mounting points, airbags and a wide array of safety systems add a true piece of mind and assist in making the new Rio a true family proposition. Despite its bold, more angular and sporting appearance, the new Rio offers an even more spacious interior, as well as impressive boot, which measures in at 325-litres in capacity. The rear seats can be raised and lowered in a 60:40 split.

The Engine Range & Ride Quality 

The entry-level Rio 1.2 LS is powered by, as the name suggests, a 1.2-litre engine which is naturally aspirated and delivers 62 kW and 120 Nm of torque. The remaining models within the new Rio range are powered by a 1.4-litre naturally aspirated engine, and it is capable of producing 74 kW and 135 Nm of torque.

While the increased body size of the Rio makes it not quite as nippy around town, as say the Picanto, I found that power delivery is smooth and adequate throughout the majority mixed-day daily commuting situations.

Overall, the ride quality is struck by an impressive blend of both firm, yet comfortable riding characteristics.  It remains planted and levelled through tighter corners, without much body roll.

To Conclude

Kia’s recent vehicles really are reminiscent of the companies drive to offer further improved vehicles in terms of safety, technology, build and overall appearance. The new Rio offers an impressive blend of where the company’s vision is headed and sits firmly in-line with being a solid compact family hatch that is big on quality, safety and ultimately posied for the adventure.

SA Pricing & Warranty 

1.2 LS R219 995
1.4 LX R234 995
1.4 EX R249 995
1.4 TEC R274 995

The new Rio is sold with 5-year/unlimited kilometres warranty, 4-year/60 000 km service plan and 5-year unlimited kilometres roadside assistance.   

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