Capable, frugal Rio eclipsed by excellent rivals
At a glance
- New price: £12,135 - £17,585
- Insurance group: 2 - 9 How much is it to insure?
- Seven-year warranty
- Plenty of standard kit
- Dull drive
- Not cheap enough
- Doesn’t stand out from its rivals
The Kia Rio is a competent supermini which performs reasonably well in every area. However, against class-leading rivals such as the Nissan Micra, Volkswagen Polo and even the outgoing Ford Fiesta, the Rio struggles to stand out.
It doesn’t have the sense of fun seen in the Micra, the quality and ride comfort of the Polo or the drive of the Fiesta, plus it’s not priced low enough to make up for any of these shortfalls.
However, for many drivers its long warranty, good equipment levels and useful practicality mean it will serve the purpose of getting from A to B perfectly well.
Good levels of standard equipment
One of the Rio’s strongest suits is the level of standard kit on all trim levels. Even base-spec 1 cars benefit from luxuries such as Bluetooth phone connectivity, air-con and hill-start assist.
The only real disappointment is that the advanced safety features, including autonomous emergency braking, aren’t standard across the entire range – potentially harming Euro NCAP safety scores for lower-spec cars.
Mixed bag of engines and gearboxes
Unlike the Kia’s easy to understand trim levels, the range of engines is significantly more confusing. There’s a choice of four petrols and two diesels, many of which have been largely carried over from the previous generation Rio.
The pick of the bunch is the 100hp 1.0-litre petrol, but even then it’s not class-leading thanks to dim-witted responses and a harsh top-end of the rev range.
As with all Kias, the Rio benefits from a seven-year or 100,000-mile (whichever comes first) warranty, which is transferable between owners. This is the only area where the Rio really stands out from its rivals, yet should ensure excellent all-round reliability.