Thursday, April 23, 2015

Kia Rio 1.4 CRDi 4 EcoDynamics 5-Door

The switch from bargain basement to upmarket quality has been an agreeable one for Korean car maker Kia.

Its small car contender the Rio may have been the model that propelled the brand up the path to UK recognition, but it certainly isn't one for standing still.

A philosophy of offering value-conscious buyers lots of car for their cash remains, but in response to customer clamour you can now lay your hands on a car kitted out like a prestige hatch - which in truth is exactly what the top grade Rio has become.

Four, or more precisely 4, is the magic number that is attracting buyers keen on downsizing without downgrading.

Flagship trim Rio 4 buyers now have the option of a 107bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine or the tested 89bhp 1.4 CRDi turbodiesel, both with six-speed manual transmission and stop/start.

Kit like full leather upholstery, a powered tilt/slide sunroof, heated steering wheel and smart key are all part of the package.

What you get with the Kia is a fresh, modern car you can really enjoy taking for a drive - whether that be a potter round town or a dash down the motorway.

At present there are 24 derivatives in both three and five-door style with prices from $10,095, which represents proper value for money, up to $17,445.

And while there's a coupe-like roofline, head, leg and shoulder room aren't compromised though it can be tight in the back if the front seats need to be slid fully back.

Stowage for bottles and cans is everywhere, while you also get an iPod/USB connection, durable seats and upholstery - important for the re-sale market further down the line - 60/40 split-fold rear seats and a deep boot.

All diesels come with Kia's EcoDynamics suite of measures like low rolling resistance tyres, Intelligent Stop and Go, an accelerator kickdown switch and gearshift indicator.

It all contributes to low CO2 emissions of 105g/km and an official average fuel figure of 70.6 miles, though it has to be said my own mainly urban return was 47.3mpg.

What's certain is that this is a well-refined car of balance, poise and comfort. It also has some decent punch once up to speed if not any great acceleration.

Fast Facts

Kia Rio 1.4 CRDi 4 EcoDynamics 5-door

Price: $17,445

Mechanical: 89bhp, 1,396cc, 4-cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 106mph

0-62mph: 12.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 70.6

Insurance Group: 7

C02 emissions: 105g/km

Bik rating: 17%

Warranty: 7yrs/100,000 miles

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