Car reviews - Kia - Rio - 5-dr hatch
Kia advances in every area with its new Rio, but does it match its light car rivals?
6 Jan 2006
By CHRIS HARRIS
THE difference between cheapness and value is well illustrated by the old Kia Rio. On paper it always looked better than it actually was. In all departments bar affordability most rival light cars have had it beaten. So consequently what you saved new you lost at resale time. And that’s not taking into account the substandard levels of dynamics, quality and comfort you’ve had to put up with in the meantime. But now Kia has issued a new-generation Rio that shows progress in every department. It’s even cheaper than ever, but does it actually represent better value?
Model release date: 1 August 2005 to 1 August 2011
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Kia Rio hatch/sedanReleased: July 2000
Ended: August 2005
Family Tree: Rio
The first-generation Rio was based on the old Ford Festiva, which was a twice-rebodied Mazda 121 from 1986. Even by 2000 standards then the Rio was no party, feeling light and flimsy. Power was supplied via a 1.5-litre twin-cam 16-valve four-cylinder engine married to either a five-speed manual or – more often – a four-speed auto. But even with 74kW and 135Nm, the Rio was a drag to drive. A new nose and tail from early ’03 brought a surprising amount of freshness to the design, but only a completely new set of components could save the original Rio from wooden-spoon status.
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