Open menu

The Kia Rio – An in-depth look

Follow on from our in depth look into the Kia Picanto now we’re taking a look at the Kia Rio




  • Fourth generation of Kia’s global best-seller
  • More size and space; greater style and equipment
  • 1.0 T-GDi turbo engine heads more efficient powertrain line-up
  • Fuel economy of up to 48.7mpg with CO2 emissions from 132g/km
  • New suspension and steering for a more grown-up driving experience
  • Advanced connectivity features appear in Rio for the first time
  • Stiffer body shell and electronic driver aids add to safety


Kia’s Rio supermini is more than ever a ‘big little car’ with the introduction of the new fourth-generation model.


The Rio is the largest and most spacious to date, is the first with a full connectivity package and advanced driver assistance systems, features new turbocharged petrol engines at the head of a more efficient powertrain line-up, and has new suspension and steering for a more grown-up feel on the road, while the acclaimed styling has a more mature and polished appearance. No wonder the Rio is known within Kia as ‘a little Titan’. The Rio will be sold as a five-door model only, in line with customer demand.


Globally, the Rio is Kia’s best-seller, with sales close to 475,000 a year, and while it is overshadowed in the UK by the European-built Sportage crossover and cee’d range, it is still a highly significant model, accounting for almost one-sixth of the company’s sales.


The Rio is offered in the UK in a 7-model line-up based on three engines, three gearboxes and five trim levels, including sporty ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ variants that are new for 2018. Available with Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist – City/pedestrian (FCA) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW), and also features both Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ smartphone integration.


A new look, a more imposing presence and greater space

The Rio adds a new twist to the award-winning styling which permeates every model from Kia. The brand’s instantly recognisable ‘tiger-nose’ front grille is more slender and wider, and it integrates neatly with the new highly sculpted halogen bi-function projection headlights with U-shaped LED running lights. The bi-function headlights operate the main and dipped beam and incorporate a separate reflector for the standard cornering lights.


The styling is characterised by straight lines and smooth surfaces which emphasise the car’s greater maturity. It was a joint effort by Kia’s design teams in Germany and the United States, with the involvement of the main design office at Namyang in South Korea.


The Rio has revised proportions and balance, with a longer wheelbase, bonnet and front overhang, a lower roofline and a more upright and compact back end. Detailing inside and out has been designed to emphasise the car’s interior space and its stability on the road. The increased leg and shoulder room are among the best in class, as is headroom – despite the lower roofline. A further benefit from the new proportions is increased boot capacity – up by almost 13 per cent to 325 litres – while the fuel tank is two litres larger at 45 litres.


The interior has been designed around the touchscreen for the new technologies now available, which include Kia Connected Services and Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ smartphone integration. Together, these not also give access to the car’s navigation and infotainment systems, but also provide live traffic updates, weather reports and information about fixed speed camera locations and local points of interest.


The horizontal theme evident in the exterior styling is repeated in the cabin, emphasising width and space while separating the upper information and lower control areas. The touchscreen has allowed the number of buttons and switches to be reduced, giving a neater look and greater functionality. The Rio is the first car in class with USB ports front and rear, so that mobile devices can be charged from any seat.




Kia is constantly lauded for the coherence and clarity of its design, winning a stream of accolades in Germany’s prestigious Red Dot awards, but it is not a company to rest on its laurels. Kia design is always evolving to take into account changes in customer demands, while remaining faithful to the mantra established by President of Design and Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer when he began the process of harmonising the appearance of the company’s cars in 2006. All of that is evident in the Rio, which is now sold only as a five-door car.


The latest Rio is a bigger car than its predecessor – not by much, but sufficiently to alter its stance and proportions and give it a fresher, more modern appearance. The design of the car was a joint effort led by the company’s studios in Frankfurt and at Irvine, California, with input from the main design centre at Namyang in South Korea.


It is 15mm longer than the outgoing car at 4,065mm, and has a 10mm longer wheelbase of 2,580mm. But the front overhang has been lengthened to create the space for a longer, sleeker bonnet, while the rear overhang has been shortened and the C-pillars are narrower and more upright. The height has been reduced by 10mm, to 1,445mm, to emphasise the sleeker and more mature appearance of the new car, and the housings for the sharp-looking projection-type front foglamps, which are standard across the range, have been pushed outwards and upwards to give the Rio an appearance of width and stability.


The signature ‘tiger-nose’ front grille is wider and more slender and blends seamlessly with the new bi-function headlight units with their U-shaped LED daytime running lights. The ‘tiger nose’ grille is in fact not an air intake at all – that is now incorporated in the dynamically surfaced bumper – but a stylish design feature in gloss black with either a silver paint or a chrome surround.


The stretched bonnet enhances the stability and volume and straight, clearly defined lines run along the Rio’s shoulders and doors, further stretching the appearance and emphasising the car’s superior aerodynamics compared with its predecessor. The Cd figure is now 0.316 instead of 0.33.


The straight line which starts at the grille and runs through the headlights and along the top of the doors continues around the rear of the car, where there are now more sculpted lamp units. The tailgate glass is now almost vertical. The overall exterior appearance of the car is distinctive, mature, clean and modern, and characterised by straight lines and smooth surfacing.


The door handles are neatly and smoothly integrated, while the prominent flat-surfaced wheel housings tightly encase new-style wheels of 15, 16 or 17 inches in diameter. These are alloy on all but the grade ‘1’ model.


The exterior door handles, bumpers and door mirror casings are in body colour, and there is a chrome window surround on grades ‘3’, ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models, plus privacy glass on the rear side windows and tailgate.  High gloss black door mirrors and rear spoiler are available on ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models.



The increased size of the Rio has been put to good use when it comes to passenger accommodation. Practicality was a key focus in the design, and there is now more front and rear head, leg and shoulder room, which are all among the best in class – despite the 10mm reduction in overall height.


Similarly, the boot is among the biggest in the B-segment at 325 litres (37 litres more than in the previous model), despite the shorter rear overhang, and expands to 980 litres with the 60:40 split rear seats folded. The tailgate opening is lower (by 26mm) and wider (by 71mm). A tyre repair kit is provided in place of a spare wheel to maximise luggage capacity and make space for a larger fuel tank – 45 litres instead of 43.


The improved interior space of the Rio comes about through some ingenious packaging solutions. Legroom benefits from the 10mm longer wheelbase, but reprofiled door trims, a reshaped dashboard and new headlining materials are responsible for the unusually generous head and shoulder room.  The thinner C-pillars – reduced in width by 87mm compared with the previous model – and relocated door mirrors, which are now at the base of the A-pillars, minimise blind spots, while all-round visibility is further improved by a lower window line and new quarter lights at the tail end of the rear doors.


There has also been an increase in storage space along with the larger boot. There is an open double tray for mobile devices and other small items at the base of the centre console, sunglasses storage in the overhead console, a single-box glove compartment, bottle holders in every door (1.5 litres at the front and 0.5 litres in the rear) and closed-bottom storage areas in the door handles.


The cabin has been designed around the touchscreen for the infotainment, navigation and connectivity features and is more sculpted and more ergonomic than that in the previous model. As with the outside, it is characterised by straight lines which emphasise width and space, and there are now horizontal rather than vertical air vents.


The dashboard is now angled more towards the driver, creating a sportier feel, while the centre console is dominated by a ‘floating’ human-machine interface with either a 3.8-inch monochrome display, a 7-inch touchscreen navigation system, depending on model. The driver-oriented centre console contains fewer buttons and features more ergonomic concave switches and rotary dials for the heating and ventilation system.


Rio ‘1’ has black cloth upholstery; in Rio ‘2’ there is premium black cloth while Rio ‘3’ features black faux leather. Special black cloth and faux leather upholstery is fitted to the ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models, which also have aluminium pedals.


Quality – perceived and actual – is evident in the fit and finish and the choice of materials. There is a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearshifter from grade ‘2’, satin chrome interior door handles on grades ‘3’, ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ (with a silver paint finish on grades ‘1’ and ‘2’), black faux leather fascia trim on grade 3 and a 3.5-inch supervision cluster from grade ‘2’.



The Rio’s suspension continues to be based on independent MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam axle at the rear, but it has been completely retuned to build on the driver involvement of the previous model while extending the compliance and comfort of the ride. This has been aided considerably by the much stiffer body shell of the new model.


Spring and damper settings have been completely revised to take advantage of the stiffer body, which allows the suspension to do its work without having to compensate for flexing of the car’s structure. The front struts and cross-member are stiffer than in the previous Rio and the torsion beam has been raised, all of which improve stability. The rear dampers are now almost vertical (the incline is 8.4 degrees instead of the previous 25 degrees), while those at the front now benefit from pre-loaded linear valve technology, delivering more linear handling and suspension response over broken surfaces.


Pre-loaded linear valve technology introduces a completely new piston design which not only increases driving comfort but also ensures excellent isolation of vibrations in the vehicle body. Rapid opening and closing processes in the valve ensure outstanding wheel damping, which adds to safety by improving handling precision. In addition, innovative piston geometries further optimise the damper’s noise emissions.


The gearbox for the motor-driven power steering (MDPS) has been moved forwards by 28mm, while the castor angle of the front wheels goes up from 4.1 degrees to 4.6 degrees. Both measures improve feel for the driver. The number of teeth on the steering’s serration column shaft has been almost doubled, which improves off-centre feel while contributing towards an improvement in noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). Together, all these changes result in a more compliant and quieter ride, greater stability, faster steering responses with greater feedback and increased driver confidence.


The column-mounted MDPS now requires a reduced 2.63 turns between the extremes of lock for a tighter turning circle of 10.2 metres. Ventilated front disc brakes and solid rear discs are fitted across the range and supported by anti-lock (ABS), electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and a Brake Assist system (BAS). Collectively, these allow the Rio to be steered and braked at the same time without risk of going out of control, ensure that most braking effort goes to the wheels which are best able to take advantage of it, and automatically deliver maximum stopping power in emergency braking, regardless of the pressure applied to the pedal by the driver.


Wheels of 15, 16 or 17 inches in diameter (steel on grade ‘1’ models; alloy on all others) are fitted, with 185/65 R15, 195/55 R16 or 205/45 R17 tyres. All models have a tyre repair kit in place of a spare wheel.






With the introduction of Kia’s in-house 1.0-litre T-GDi (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct-injection) engine to the Rio, there are now three power units and a trio of transmissions available. Two of the engines are new to Rio, and in some cases, there are improvements to fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions, despite the larger body of the latest model.


There has been extensive work to enhance comfort and driver enjoyment through revisions to the suspension system, which continues to be based on independent MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam axle at the rear. Much of the improvement in ride and handling is due to the stiffer body shell of the new car, which is made of 51 per cent advanced high-strength steel compared with 33 per cent in the outgoing model.


Refinement has been improved through detailed work on the aerodynamics, body structure and insulation, while active safety benefits from the introduction for the first time in Rio of d Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW) City/Pedestrian and Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS), both of which are standard from grade ‘2’ upwards. These features are optional on grade ‘1’ variants.


The 1.0-litre T-GDi engine

Kia has embarked on an ambitious policy of reducing average fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of its model range by 25 per cent by 2020, based on 2014 levels. It aims to do this through engine downsizing, more efficient combustion of petrol and diesel power units and the addition of alternative-fuel vehicles where appropriate.


The 1.0-litre T-GDi engine fits in perfectly with this strategy by delivering exceptional power and torque, despite its small capacity, through turbocharging and direct injection. The T-GDi units spray a fine mist of fuel directly into the cylinders through a high-pressure injection system which ensures they use only as much fuel as necessary for the load being put on them. The result is highly efficient combustion with excellent performance. Direct injection with turbocharging also helps to boost low-speed response and driveability.


There are two versions of the 1.0-litre T-GDi in the Rio, both three-cylinder 998cc units with four valves per cylinder. Power outputs are 99bhp at 4,500rpm and 118bhp at 6,000rpm, while they deliver an identical amount of torque – 171Nm continuously from 1,500rpm to 4,000rpm. The standard-powered version is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox while the higher-powered option is linked to a six-speed manual. A seven-speed DCT automatic gearbox is available on the ‘GT-Line’ model paired to the 118bhp 1.0-litre T-GDi powerplant.


The key targets were instantaneous response, highly efficient combustion and exemplary torque across a wide portion of the rev band. These goals have been more than met with the aid of innovative technical solutions. The T-GDi engines feature laser-drilled injectors with six holes laid out in a pyramid shape so that the fine mist of fuel is spread more evenly throughout the cylinders than if it was being consistently sprayed into certain points.


The T-GDi engine has a straight air intake port which ends in a sharp air intake throat, reducing air resistance at all stages of the process. This improves cylinder tumble flow for faster, more efficient combustion while suppressing engine knocking.


There is a single-scroll turbocharger paired with an electric wastegate motor. This improves turbocharger performance while scavenging clean air for the engine to re-use for combustion. At the same time it allows the wastegate to open to improve the flow of spent exhaust gases. It is an innovative system which allows higher low-end torque, more immediate response at any throttle opening and improved fuel economy at high engine loads.


The engine is fitted with an integrated exhaust manifold which reduces exhaust gas temperatures, bringing the benefits of higher speeds with greater fuel efficiency. Lower temperatures also result in cleaner emissions by allowing the catalytic converter to operate more effectively. Engine temperatures are closely regulated by a dual-thermostat split cooling system, which allows the block and cylinder heads to be cooled independently. The main thermostat controls the flow of coolant to the cylinder heads above 88ºC to reduce knocking, while the engine block thermostat shuts off coolant flow above 105ºC to reduce friction and improve efficiency.


A number of factors contribute towards the exemplary driveability and efficiency of the all-aluminium T-GDi unit. There is continuously variable valve timing on both the inlet and exhaust sides, electronic throttle control and light, low-friction moving parts. The crankshaft is offset from the centre-line to aid smoothness.


The turbocharger is integrated within the exhaust manifold. The integrated exhaust manifold and turbocharger, in a one-piece casting, improve sealing while reducing weight. A number of detailed engineering solutions minimise throttle lag – the delay between the driver pressing the accelerator and the turbocharger delivering boost – and reduce internal friction.


For added durability, the cylinder block has been heat-treated and the crankshaft, pistons and connecting rods have been strengthened.


The 99bhp version of the engine accelerates the Rio from standstill to 60mph in 10.3 seconds on the way to a top speed of 116mph. Combined fuel consumption is from 47.3 to 48.7mpg, with CO2 emissions of 132g/km (grade ‘2’) or 134g/km (grade ‘3’). Acceleration from 0-60mph takes only 9.8 seconds and the top speed is 118mph for the 118bhp engine, while combined fuel economy and emissions are 46.3mpg and 139g/km when paired with the six-speed manual gearbox or 44.1mpg and 146g/km when paired with the seven-speed DCT automatic.


The 1.25-litre multi-point injection engine

There is a further petrol engine in the Rio, a four-cylinder 16-valve unit featuring multi-point fuel injection (MPi). The 1.25-litre unit from the Kappa family, was available in the previous Rio.


The entry-level 1.25-litre engine is an aluminium-block 1,248cc unit featuring double overhead camshafts, continuously variable valve timing (CVVT) with low-friction beehive springs, an offset crankshaft and a maintenance-free long-life timing chain. It drives through a five-speed manual gearbox.


It develops 83bhp at 6,000rpm and 122Nm of torque peaking at 4,000rpm. Thanks to CVVT, this engine delivers outstanding performance over a wide portion of the rev range, while its modern design and compact capacity ensure this is achieved with the lowest possible fuel consumption and emissions. Combined economy is 46.3mpg for level ‘1’ (45.6mpg on grade ‘2’), with CO2 emissions of 139g/km for ‘1’ grade variants or 139g/km for ‘2’ grade variants. This easy-going entry-level power unit is ideally suited to urban driving, but is far from out of its depth at highway speeds. It can accelerate the Rio from 0-60mph in 12.5 seconds on the way to a top speed of 107mph.



Model Power bhp Torque


0-60 sec Max speed mph Comb. mpg CO2g/km
Rio ‘1’ 1.25 5-speed manual ISG 83 122 12.5 107 46.3 139
Rio ‘2’ 1.25 5-speed manual ISG 83 122 12.5 107 45.6 139
Rio ‘2’ 1.0 T-GDi 99bhp 5-speed manual ISG 99 171 10.3 116 48.7 132
Rio ‘3’ 1.0 T-GDi 99bhp 5-speed manual ISG 99 171 10.3 116 47.9 134
Rio ‘GT-Line’ 1.0 T-GDi 118bhp 6-speed manual ISG 118 171 9.8 118 46.3 139
Rio ‘GT-Line’ 1.0 T-GDi 118bhp 7-speed DCT auto ISG 118 171 10.1 118 44.1 146
Rio ‘GT-Line S’ 1.0 T-GDi 118bhp 6-speed manual ISG 118 171 9.8 118 46.3 139



All manual versions of the Rio are fitted as standard with Kia’s EcoDynamics fuel-saving, CO2-reducing measures.


The ISG system turns off the engine when the car is stationary in traffic and the driver puts the gear lever into neutral and releases the clutch pedal. The engine restarts as soon as the clutch pedal is pushed.


ISG consists of crankshaft position, battery and vacuum sensors plus neutral, on-off and clutch switches that feed into an electronic control unit. This operates the ISG starter, intelligent alternator and cluster.


The crankshaft position sensor measures the crank angle during engine run-out and monitors it while the vehicle is stopped, ensuring the starter is activated for as short a time as possible by optimising cranking and combustion. The battery sensor monitors the battery condition and temperature, while the clutch and neutral switches recognise when drivers wish to continue driving and ensure the engine is started. There is a brake booster pressure sensor to make sure the engine continues to operate if brake boost falls too low.


A heavy-duty maintenance-free AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) battery delivers the power necessary to run the system, and intelligent alternator management reduces drain on the battery while accelerating and recharges the battery when coasting and braking.


All the driver has to do is stop, put the car into neutral and lift his or her foot off the clutch. After a brief pause, the engine cuts out. It restarts as soon as the driver pushes the clutch. The system has been engineered not to stop the engine during warm-up from a cold start or if the air conditioning system is working hard.




Kia Connected Services with TomTom™ are accessed through a 7-inch touchscreen navigation system. The information available to drivers includes live traffic updates, weather reports, speed camera locations and local point-of-interest searches.


Android Auto™ is available when paired with Android smartphones running 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher, while Apple CarPlay™ is compatible with iPhone 5 and newer versions of the Apple handset. Both allow occupants to connect to various apps and functions, including hands-free calls and texts and voice recognition. Android Auto™ gives access to Google maps navigation and Google Play music, while Apple CarPlay™ links to pre-loaded maps, music, podcasts, texts and messages and audiobooks, all through Siri voice control.


A DAB radio is standard from grade ‘2’ upwards and linked in grade ‘2’ to a 7-inch colour touchscreen display. A reversing camera, with dynamic guidelines and rear parking assist system is standard from grade ‘2’. All models have Bluetooth® with music streaming, and this is supplemented with voice recognition in grades ‘3’ and ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models.




The Rio features Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW) City/Pedestrian as part of Kia’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAP). It also features and Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS). Both are standard from grade ‘2’ upwards and optional with grade ‘1’. And, in an increasingly connected world, the Rio now offers the full Kia Connected Services package powered by TomTom™ and featuring Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ integration. These are standard with grade ‘2’ and the ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models.


Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW) with pedestrian recognition takes data from radar and a camera to detect sudden and potentially dangerous braking by a vehicle ahead, and activates the brakes. At speeds between 5mph and 50mph it will come to a complete stop, avoiding many potential collisions and minimising the consequences of others. It is also able to detect pedestrians who wander into its path and apply the brakes in the same way. Visual and audible alerts warn the driver of imminent danger so that manual intervention is possible before the car starts to brake automatically.


The Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS), which also relies on a camera that in this case recognises the lane markings on roads, senses when the car is about to deviate from its intended course when the indicators have not been activated. Again, the driver is warned visually – via a symbol on the instrument display – and audibly in time to correct the car’s trajectory. The system can also provide steering input to stop the vehicle straying from its lane.


A new feature – Straight Line Stability – senses any difference in applied brake pressure between the right and left of the car and intervenes to keep it straight. Another new feature is Cornering Brake Control, which delivers asymmetrical brake pressure when braking in tight curves to counter loss of traction. All versions of the Rio also have Hill-start Assist to prevent the car from rolling backwards when setting off on steep inclines.


The ultra-stiff body shell of the Rio, composed of 51 per cent advanced high-strength steels versus 33 per cent in the previous model, has beneficial effects beyond handling and comfort. It provides a greater barrier against injury in the event of an accident.


The chassis of the new car has improved longitudinal and lateral load paths and greater torsional and bending rigidity than the model it replaces and many leading competitors. Structural improvements include a partitioned inner assembly of the front strut mount, stronger connections in the C-pillar cross-member and the application of more structural adhesives on major chassis components. Advanced high-strength steels reinforce all major chassis parts, and there are now multiple load paths to dissipate crash energy in the front of the car.


Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), which work together to stabilise the car on slippery road surfaces or when simultaneously cornering and braking, are now joined by a new feature – Straight Line Stability – which senses any difference in applied brake pressure between the right and left of the car and intervenes to keep it straight. Another new feature is Cornering Brake Control, which delivers asymmetrical brake pressure when braking in tight curves to counter loss of traction. All versions of the Rio also have Hill-start Assist to prevent the car from rolling backwards when setting off on steep inclines.


There are six airbags, with pre-tensioners and load limiters to brace occupants in their seats in extreme braking or if an accident is about to happen, and to prevent injury to chests. A visual and audible seat belt reminder warning is fitted, and there are ISOFIX child-seat mounting points.




The Rio is available in five trim grades – badged ‘1’, ‘2’ and ‘3’ for simplicity, in familiar Kia style – with sporty ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models at the pinnacle of the range.


All are extensively equipped, with even grade ‘1’ is fitted as standard with air conditioning, front electric windows with an automatic function on the driver’s side, remote locking, electrically adjustable heated door mirrors, a 3.8-inch display screen, Bluetooth®. There are body-coloured bumpers, door mirror casings and door handles, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and 60:40 split rear seats. A four-speaker audio system is standard and safety provisions include ESC, VSM and Hill-start Assist Control to prevent the car from rolling backwards when setting off on steep inclines.


Grade ‘2’ supplements all this with 15-inch alloy wheels in place of similar-sized steel wheels, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearshifter, electric windows at the rear as well as the front, electric folding mirrors with LED indicator lights, a DAB radio, a 7-inch colour display screen, a six-speaker audio system, Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ connectivity with voice control and Bluetooth®, a reversing camera and rear parking sensors, a 3.5-inch premium supervision cluster, rear as well as front USB charging ports, cruise control with a speed limiter and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW) City/Pedestrian and Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS). There is chrome trim around the black radiator grille, premium black cloth upholstery and a centre storage box.


Additional features on grade ‘3’ include 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic air conditioning with a defogging system, black faux leather upholstery, 7-inch touchscreen satellite navigation, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing front wipers, privacy glass on the rear side windows and tailgate.


‘GT-Line’ models feature the long list of equipment found on grade ‘2’ models. In addition, the sporty Rio model includes sports style bumpers front and rear, 17-inch alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, LED ‘ice-cube’ front fog lights, LED rear fog lights, twin exhaust tips, black door mirrors and rear spoiler and privacy glass for the rear windows and tailgate. Inside there’s aluminium pedals and black cloth and faux leather upholstery with grey stitching.


Most up to ‘GT-Line S’ specification and there’s a 7-inch touchscreen satellite navigation system with DAB radio and RDS, as well as smart key with engine start/stop button, automatic air conditioning, an auto-dimming rear view mirror, rain sensing front wipers and automatic defog system. Blind Spot Detection (BSD) also features, as well as heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.



Kia set a new benchmark in 2007 when it launched the cee’d with an industry-best seven-year/100,000-mile warranty. That demonstration of faith in the quality and reliability of Kia products was subsequently extended to every model.


A major benefit is that it is transferable to subsequent owners at no charge, as long as the seven-year time limit has not been reached and the mileage is below 100,000.


The mechanical warranty is supported by a 12-year anti-perforation warranty and a five-year paint warranty.


Servicing is required every 10,000 miles or once a year, whichever comes soonest. The Rio is available with Kia’s ‘Kia Care’ service plans, which have been developed to provide customers with a wide range of service plan options for any Kia model within the first seven years of the vehicle’s life – matching its industry-leading seven-year warranty.


The service plans include a comprehensive range of options including the original, traditional, first, third and fifth services and those in between, but in addition a customer can now purchase services up to and including the seventh service which matches the full length of the warranty. The plans are available for all Kia owners and can be purchased at any point of ownership for cars up to five years old.


The Kia Promise was introduced to give customers the best ownership experience by giving them access to seven key benefits. The Kia Promise is activated after purchase and is done by simply registering on the online portal, MyKia. Along with the industry leading seven-year/100,000 mile warranty, other benefits of the Kia Promise include complimentary seven day insurance and £250 Insurance Excess Return for one year; easy to use Click & Collect on Genuine Kia accessories; convenient online service booking; Family-Like Care and Accident AfterCare. Every new Kia also comes with complimentary Roadside Assistance for 12 months. When a customer registers on MyKia, Kia Roadside Assistance Plus, the highest level of cover provided by the RAC, can be unlocked, which includes onward travel and European cover.



Burning questions that you would love to ask our President and CEO


  1. How important is the Rio in the UK?

The Rio is Kia’s challenger in the ultra-competitive supermini segment, and in 2018 was responsible for almost 6,000 sales in the UK.       


  1. What sales targets have you set for the Rio for the UK market?

            We never release sales or production targets for individual models.


  1. What does 2020 hold for the Kia brand in the UK?

Until there is some certainty around what the split from Europe means for the UK, it’s likely to continue to be turbulent in the new car market. Last year was once again another record year for Kia in the UK, with 97,323 cars delivered to customers during 2019. That represents an increase of 1.6 per cent, in a market that was down by 2.4 per cent and saw the lowest number of new vehicles registered since 2013. Last year, Kia moved up one place to number eight in the overall UK sales charts, which is a significant achievement in a sales environment that has been exceptionally tough.


The first year of the new decade is going to present a number of challenges – none more so than the switch from NEDC to WLTP CO2 emissions figures in April 2020. At a time when consumers expect to see ever-improving data, the change in regime means that all cars will see an increase to their emissions, meaning most owners will be paying more for their motoring each year. That’s a bitter pill to swallow for many and will take a lot of explaining in the showrooms. It will mean, however, that the fuel economy and CO2 emissions are more realistic in real-world driving and gives Kia the opportunity to fully leverage their range of highly efficient eco cars.


Mandatory CO2 standards for passenger cars were first introduced in 2009 by the European Union, and in 2020 a new, more stringent set of standards means that an average of 95g/km across the product range must be achieved. Failing to do so will result in significant fines, and therefore the primary focus of Kia Motors is to achieve the fleet CO2 average of 95g/km across the line-up.


  1. Which vehicles are hitting a chord with UK buyers currently?

There is a continued trend for customers to migrate away from traditional sectors towards SUVs, and we’re in a perfect position to deliver on the changing demand, with six key products in the Kia portfolio – Stonic, Niro, XCeed, Soul EV, Sportage and Sorento.


2019 was very much the year of the Ceed, with replacements for the hatchback and Sportswagon and new entrants into the market thanks to the all-new XCeed and ProCeed. Every Ceed derivative posted an increase on the year before, and it was a similar story for many models in the Kia range, which saw a rise compared to 2018. Highlights include the Niro, with a 44 per cent increase, a rise of more than 6 per cent for the Picanto and 44 per cent growth in Stinger sales. Sorento registrations rose, too, while the most popular model in the Kia range, the Sportage remained broadly static but still the highest selling and most popular model.


Alternative fuel vehicles are continually hitting the headlines, and here at Kia we are very well placed to provide customers with a wide range of different solutions to suit individual needs. In 2020, we are aiming for three in every ten cars we sell to be electrified in some way. With both the pure electric e-Niro and Soul EV, we are ahead of the curve in offering customers a choice of electric solutions to solve their mobility issues. For those that prefer a plug-in hybrid vehicle, we now have three, thanks to the recently refreshed Niro and the newly introduced Ceed Sportswagon and all-new XCeed. The top selling Sportage is fitted with mild hybrid technology on all of the diesel variants and this technology will soon be available on the Ceed, Ceed Sportswagon and XCeed, too.


  1. What elements of the Rio make you proud to be leading Kia Motors UK?

The Rio sits in a very important part of the UK market, with the small car segment one of the most competitive sectors, both in terms of retail and fleet customers. Excellent value for money, high equipment levels, low running costs, a high-grade interior and roomy cabin and boot make the Rio a highly competitive and compelling proposition, and one that buyers can’t ignore in the supermini market.





We’ve anticipated what you’re likely to ask us


  1. Which engines are the best sellers in the Rio line-up?

The 1.25-litre engine is the most popular powerplant in the Rio, with almost half of cars sold utilising that powerplant. It is followed up by the 1.0 T-GDi unit at almost 30 per cent, with the remaining buyers opting for the recently discontinued 1.4-litre engine. Those customers are expecting to now migrate to the 99bhp 1.0 T-GDi engine.


  1. What trim level is the most popular?

Grade ‘2’ is overwhelmingly the best-selling trim level, with more than half of all Rio buyers choosing it in 2018. During the same period, 27 per cent of Rio customers chose high end or ‘GT-Line’ versions of the Rio.


  1. Why isn’t there a three-door Rio?

Demand for traditional three-door hatchbacks is decreasing – there are no plans to introduce a three-door Rio to the line-up. In previous generations of Rio, the three-door made up only a very small proportion of total Rio sales, with buyers opting for the more practical five-door hatchback bodystyle instead.


  1. Are there any plans for mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric versions of the Rio?

We are evaluating electric powertrains for all of our future products, but so far we have not made any announcements about electrification plans for the Rio in its current generation.


  1. Are there any plans for a more powerful Rio GT?

The most powerful engine in the Rio, the 1.0 T-GDi, accounts for around six per cent of all sales, and that powerplant in the ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ meets the needs of buyers that desire a sportier edition. We don’t believe that there would be sufficient demand for a hotter Rio at this time.


Q         Why isn’t the Rio offered with a diesel engine anymore?

            The market for a diesel version of the Rio is quite small, and we therefore took the decision to concentrate on petrol powerplants in the UK. The 1.0-litre T-GDi Rio manages 48.7mpg on the combined fuel economy cycle, and believe that this highly efficient powerplant delivers the figures that would appeal to cost-conscious Rio buyers looking to maximise economy and lower fuel bills.


See our latest Kia Rio offers click here