New Kia Rio Launches in South Africa
Having gone from strength to strength since its introduction in 2000, the KIA Rio has firmly cemented itself as a very serious contender in the B segment. Never a bad product, the Rio always stood for reliability and value for money, but up until the third generation, had the appeal of a flip flop in p. Thanks in part to Peter Schreyer, however, Rio 3.0 took the world by storm and aside from the “adequate” engine line up offered in South Africa, proved to be the first worthy contender to Volkswagen’s near flawless Polo. The world said “wow” and KIA said… “wow”, but in Korean of course.
5 years on, we have welcomed the all-new KIA Rio to local shores and immediately one can tell that they’ve toned it down. Clearly a “broader appeal” is what they are going for here, but that’s a bit like downgrading from a runway model to “Dora the Explorer” because she has a “broader appeal.” That doesn’t mean she’s nice, in every sense of the word…
Is it an improvement?
Thankfully, the good news is that the new Rio is quite nice. It’s neither revolutionary nor repugnant, it’s just handsome. Where significant changes have been made, however, are under the bonnet. Well, not quite – the same insipid and dreary engines as before remain, with less power can you believe it?! But torque is available earlier which should aid drivability etc. The 1.2-litre (62 kW and 120 N.m) and 1.4-litre (74 kW and 135 N.m) Kia motors are old, but dependable, so supposed they have that going for them, just like Dora.
Great attention to detail has been paid to the Rio and this is something that can be felt in the drive. The ride is most certainly firmer, perhaps in a quest to chase a ‘sporty’ drive. It is, however, a bit less wallowy than its predecessor and that’s a good thing – it’s an attribute that suits the Rio.
Attention has also been directed towards the interior cabin and is now well appointed and thankfully no longer reeks of eau de KIA. As usual, it has all the safety things and a welcomed addition is the slightly larger infotainment screen.
KIA has managed to keep the pricing almost unchanged from the previous model thanks to a favourable exchange rate. This is also packaged nicely with KIA’s 5 year/unlimited km warranty and 4 year/60 000 km service plan.
Pricing is as follows:
- 1.2 LS – R219 995
1.4 LX – R234 995
1.4 EX – R249 995
1.4 Tec – R274 995