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Kia tops off Rio line-up

Light fantastic: Kia's facelifted Rio line-up started to trickle into dealerships in January (left), but the SLi and Sport (below) complete the range.

Top-grade three- and five-door Rios arrive to cap off Kia's light-car line-up

Kia logo24 Jul 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

KIA has capped off the mid-life update to its Rio city car line-up, with the introduction of the SLi and Sport variants, following the rest of the range that went on sale in January.

The two variants land as flagships for the Korean car-maker's light hatch range, with the three-door-only Sport starting at $21,490 plus on-road costs, while the five-door SLi is available from $22,990.

Kia says the Sport replaces the old SLS variant, and it will sit above the only other three-door in the Rio range – the 'S' – which kicks off the entire Rio line-up at $15,990 with a manual gearbox (the auto adds $2000).

Standard safety gear in the Sport includes ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, ESC, traction control, vehicle management system, hill-start assist, six airbags, three child restraint anchor points and seatbelt reminders.

Attempting to live up to its name, the Sport gains alloy sports pedals and front seatbelt guides, leatherette trim seats with red stitching and the availability of a “bespoke exterior hero colour”, Digital Yellow.

The five-door SLi includes the aforementioned safety features but adds rear parking sensors and rear child locks, while the seats are leather and cloth and have height-adjustable seatbelts.

Further standard equipment includes rain-sensing wipers, climate control air-conditioning, and privacy glass for the rear windows and tailgate window. Premium paint adds another $520.

Power for both new variants comes from Kia's 103kW/167Nm 1.6-litre GDi petrol engine matched with a six-speed automatic transmission. Kia has not released fuel economy figures but under the bonnet of the five-door Si, it consumes 6.1 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle.

The rest of the updated Rio line-up went on sale in January in S, S Premium and Si guise ahead of the arrival of the SLi and Sport, and brought with it a lightly refreshed exterior and updated cabin.

Despite the refresh at the start of the year, Rio sales have fallen by 29 per cent in the first six months of 2015 compared with last year, to 3060 units, sitting well behind segment leaders such as the Mazda2 (7692), Toyota Yaris (7567), the resurgent Honda Jazz (5139) and Volkswagen's Polo (4744).

Kia will add another tiny contender to its line-up later this year or in early 2016 when the Picanto micro car arrives to do battle with the likes of the Suzuki Celerio, Mitsubishi Mirage, Nissan Micra and Fiat 500.

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