WITH HIGH fuel costs, many are looking for a stylish economical well-equipped supermini, and there is quite a choice. But what if you wanted cool looks, air-con, alloys, 70mpg and a price tag of under £11,000? Not so easy. Yet the new Kia Rio ticks all those boxes, and a few more, in 1.5 CRDi form. This nippy but frugal diesel offers 109 hp, enough to deliver zesty performance and excellent fuel economy.
The official combined figure is 68.9 mpg, outstanding for a car which can still do 0-60 mph in 11.5 seconds and has a top speed of 109 mph. On a motorway, it cruises well, and excels in town where its low and mid-range torque makes it fluent and agile.
It has light steering, a slick 5-speed gearshift and good ride comfort and stacks up as a very serious alternative to rivals such as the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa. The Kia also comes with a 7-year 100,000 mile warranty, something the opposition can’t match.
From the outside, the new Kia Rio looks smart and cool – and anything but budget priced. Yet in ‘2’ specification, with air-con, alloys, all-round power windows, tinted glass, remote locking, fog lamps, radio/CD/MP3/iPod connection, it costs just £10,995.
Inside, you get smart appearance and decent quality materials, neat practical dashboard layout and plenty of stowage space. The boot offers 270 litres, boosted to 1,145 with the rear seats folded down.
Seating is comfortable, even in the rear where – unusually – the seatbacks are also adjustable.
Underway, the new Rio proves ultra-user-friendly. You feel immediately at home in the car, equipment is logically placed, all-round visibility is excellent, the overall driving feel one of ease and comfort.
No car in this sector has impressed me so much, so soon after getting behind the wheel. The Kia Rio is probably as close as you can get to a perfect supermini in its price-band and its hard to see anyone who test-drives one not being sufficiently impressed to buy one on the spot.
The big plus-point is its low running costs – just £30 a year road tax, the 68.9 mpg combined fuel figure – and that amazing 7-year warranty. The fact that it drives so beautifully too is quite a bonus.
- FOR: Just about everything.
- AGAINST: Virtually nothing. OK, the load floor isn’t flat when you fold the seats, but it’s such a small point against an otherwise great car, I’m almost ashamed to mention it..