Kia Rio 1.4 Tec

The Kia Rio - did you hear though?

This student vacation I got a job. And whilst I am used to getting around on my chevro-legs thanks to the small towns I reside in, they certainly would not get me to work on time. However, just in time for my first day of work, along came this shiny cool grey Kia Rio 1.4 Tec. I knew we were going to be best friends. What an awesome ride! 

I became really close with this guy. Each day as my work shift ended, the Kia and I had the urge to cruise around the Franschhoek Valley, easy through each bend, gas pedal leaned back. The car really coaxes the road and does so with a strong connection. With the right music (Shakey Graves, anyone?) and open windows, the drive was almost ethereal. Perhaps this is due to the well achieved aerodynamic efficiency. Perhaps it’s the quiet engine and faint road noise. Perhaps it’s the easy steering. One word though: Supple. 

Don’t get me wrong, when I was late for work, boy did we get going. But it isn’t as fast as the Fiesta or the Polo. The car is very well controlled with excellent grip. If you’re going for fun in the Rio range, the higher-powered, faster accelerating 1.0-litre turbo is an option. Otherwise, the gear box is slightly notchy. But the visibility is good, making parking easier. On that note, save for the basic version, proximity sensors are a standard. 

You might be thinking, “What’s this girl doing dozing around town and wasting fuel for?”. You should be, I dozy too much. But the Kia’s consumption looks good on paper, with a claimed consumption of 5.8 l/100km. It’s pretty impressive for a car that size. One of the Rio’s best features is the space it provides. It could fit tall people all-round. 

Even one in the middle, due to the lack of a middle floor bump. Tech-wise, basics like Bluetooth, USB port and auxiliary ports are customary.  Safety-wise there are at least two airbags in every model, with ABS brakes. The fact that not all models come with the high-tech versions six airbags is disappointing. 

Now, I know with my student budget, I couldn’t afford one of these on my own. But after a brief look into its (very good) competitors, this car offers brilliant value for money and a hell of a lot of spec – and that’s including competitors like the brand-new Polo that you need to go to R300K to match. Other rivals would be the Ford Fiesta (compared to which, the Rio lacks a certain vuma), the Opel Corsa, its sibling with the Hyundai badge and the cars from the French quarter, it’s pretty well priced and very nicely equipped. And whilst I’ve seen many lucky students in Polos, the Kia just does it for me. 

Thanks for the awesome working holiday, you red Rio! I miss you already. – Marcella Lupini

Images – Michele Lupini

ROAD TEST: Kia Rio hatch 1.4 Tec
ENGINE:  74kW 135Nm 1596cc Petrol I4
DRIVE: 6-speed automatic FWD
0-60km/h 4.62 sec
0-100km/h 10.85 sec
0-160km/h 30.15 sec
400m 17.4 sec @ 129km/h
80-120km/h 7.85 sec
120-160km/h 15.12 sec

Vmax: 176km/h 
Consumption: 5.8 l/100km
CO2: 137g/km
Warranty/service: 5y unl/5y 60Kkm 
RATED:    83%