The all-new Kia Rio is definitely Grande

The all-new Kia Rio ticks all the boxes
The all-new Kia Rio ticks all the boxes

Kia Rio 1.2 MPI Platinum

Anyone who reads these pages will know it is no secret that we are both big fans of the Korean brand Kia. 

And we are definitely not the only ones in the motor industry who have this love affair. 

At the Irish launch of the new Kia Rio recently, we were reminded how this little gem pulled on the heart strings of Irish motor journalists when it was crowned Irish Car of the Year back in 2011. 

There’s no doubt that this little model faces some stiff competition in its segment, with the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo sitting pretty at the top of the sales table. 

And that’s before we even mention the new Nissan Micra, which is already the talk of the town since its recent launch. 

However, we both believe this little Korean number can certainly hold its own with the more established players in this market. 

On the outside, the new Kia Rio is a smart-looking little car that matches most of its rivals in the looks 

It’s bigger, too, gaining 15mm over its predecessor. However, it is 5mm lower. Head height has been increased by 5mm, legroom by 8mm and overall increased length makes the new model more spacious inside.

The boot has also increased in size and is now 325 litres and 980 litres when all the seats are folded. 

On the inside, the new Rio has undergone a makeover. It’s certainly not earth-shattering, but it is uncluttered and totally redesigned to accommodate all the new technology.

There are big improvements all over the cabin and it now comes with five-inch and seven-inch screens, depending on trim levels.

It has to be said, Kia do offer a lot of standard equipment that you would pay over the odds for in some other brands. 

Little things like reversing cameras and folding mirrors that can cost thousands as extras – even on €70k-plus premium cars – are available in the Rio, depending on what model you choose. 

On the road, the new Rio is on level par with most of the other cars in this segment.

It is only when we got behind the wheel for a week-long test drive that we could truly judge if you could live with one – and it certainly ticks all the boxes. 

It’s not the most responsive car we have ever driven, but the little five-speed gearbox held its own around town and cruised with ease at motorway speeds.

For anyone who doesn’t do massive mileage, the petrol engine is the only way to go.

Kia Motors Ireland will offer six models at launch, with one 1.2 (85hp) petrol engine and two 1.4 diesel units (77 and 90hp).

The 100hp one-litre turbo petrol engine will follow later in the year. 

The petrol variants are entry-level L model (€15,950), volume model EX (€18,150) – the model fitted with the safety pack, including AEB, the EX ADAS (€19,450) – and a top-of-the-line Platinum model (€20,450), which comes with sat nav and Android auto.

The two diesel models on offer are the LX (€17,750) and the EXE (€19,950), powered respectively by 77hp and 90hp 1.4 diesel engines. 

The 1.2 petrol unit has a CO2 of 109 and annual road tax of €190 and the diesel has 92 and 98 (€180 pa). 

Overall, the new Kia Rio is a smashing little car that can rival the Fiesta and Polo. We have heard some great reports about the new Micra, but we have yet to get behind the wheel, so we can’t compare it to that just yet.

One thing that does give the Rio, and all Kias, an advantage over its rivals is their seven-year warranty. 

The Kia brand is one of the rising stars of the motor industry and should not be overlooked when it comes to buying a car. 

Sometimes change is good, and this new little Rio is ‘Grande’.