Adding a chunky boot to a hatchback does little to boost the desirability of a car but the new Kia Rio sedan wears its new dimensions with confidence. It looks a lot more suave when compared with the Polo and Fiesta sedan. The fourth-generation Kia Rio was launched late last year (November 2011) in hatchback guise and, has to date, sold on average 1500 units per month – the Rio Sedan will account for roughly one-third of total Rio sales going forward. With a country-wide trend of buyers scaling down to more fuel efficient and low-output C02 vehicles the Kia Rio sedan is an attractive B-segment proposition. Two engine derivatives are on offer: a 1.2-litre ‘Kappa’ and a 1.4-litre ‘Gamma’ engine. Both units – on paper – are impressively endowed delivering 65kW/120Nm and 79kW/135Nm respectively, and can be twinned to either a five-speed manual (1.2) or four-speed automatic and six-speed manual (1.4). Don’t expect the Rio sedan to be a performance machine: out in the real world the power delivery of the 1.4-litre is sluggish and struggled to gain any momentum moving through the gears – and this was at the coast. However, one should remember the Rio is more of a fuel efficient cruiser than anything else returning an impressive 5.4l (1.2-litre) and 6.4l/100km (1.4-litre). It does handle surprisingly well and can be tossed around without a chirp from its wheels while parking is breeze thanks to the over-assisted steering setup.
The interior is pretty much the same as the Rio hatchback and, as such, compliments the striking design language of the exterior. The 389 litres of boot space is relatively roomy, too. All Rio sedans have pretty decent trim levels but it’s the range-topping 1.4-litre TEC model that’s most impressive. Aluminium pedals, a cooled cubbyhole, leather trim, LED daytime running lights, projection headlights, folding mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, rear parking assist system and stylish 17-inch wheels are all standard fare. Ten exterior colours are available with metallic paint an optional extra on all models.
The Rio sedan boasts a 5 star Euro NCAP rating and comes standard with ABS and EBD, driver and passenger airbags (side and curtain on 1.4 TEC) and ISOFIX child seat anchors.
What about pricing? Well, the entry-level 1.2 model will cost you as little as R141995 – that’s not much more than the Rio hatch equivalent with the sticker price jumping to R173995 for the 1.4 TEC model.
Kia has certainly come a long way since the 2000s – the striking design philosophy spearheaded by Peter Schreyer, the impressive standard option list and affordable pricing has bolstered the reputation of the Korean company. With a four-year/60 000km service plan, a five-year/100 000km warranty and a world-class aftersales support system the Rio Sedan and Kia as a brand just got more popular.