Kia / Rio / sedan/hatch range
IF you go a little way back, there have actually been three generations of the diminutive Kia Rio in Australia, tracing its roots to the old Ford Festiva and Mazda 121.
But forget the cheap and cheerful of yesteryear.
Today’s Kia Rio is a marked improvement on what has gone before it.
It’s still budget motoring, but with more polish and precision.
Fortunately, despite increased refinement, a bigger engine and a roomier cabin, the price has been held to a commendable $15,990 driveaway for the manual sedan or hatch.
Importantly too, safety levels have improved for both the passengers and pedestrians as the Rio is one of the first Korean cars fitted with a pedestrian-friendly front-end.
That means the bumper and bonnet are designed to inflict fewer injuries if a hapless pedestrian happens to connect with the front of the car.
It seems Kia has managed to repackage low-cost motoring and throw in some style and, finally, some substance.
Model release date: September 2005
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AUSTRALIA'S first taste of the Kia Rio light came in July 2000 when both the four-door sedan and five-door hatch versions went on sale with a sticker price of $14,990.
Later available with air-conditioning as standard and then at a driveaway price, the original Rio was discontinued in Decemeber 2002 to make way for the facelifted version released here in January 2003.
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