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Kia Rio Reviews


The Kia Rio supermini has been refreshed. Andy Enright takes a look at this underrated Korean.

The third-generation Kia Rio has been given a makeover with a smarter edge to the styling and a revision of the trim grades. There's no big news under the bonnet, but efficiency was never a weak point. Prices are keen and the seven-year warranty speaks for itself.

If, like most of us, you create a mental shortlist when shopping for your next supermini vehicle, it probably runs along the lines of 'Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, Renault Clio, Peugeot 208'. Maybe the Volkswagen Polo if you've got a few bob more or the Hyundai i20 if you're big on value for money. Other candidates could include the Toyota Yaris, the Honda Jazz and, if you pride yourself on wilful ignorance of all things four-wheeled, the Nissan Micra. But what about the Kia Rio? Unfortunately, most associate the Kia Rio with its first generation model, which had very little to recommend it other than, well, I'm struggling there. The second generation car was a lot smarter, but the third stab at the theme, introduced in 2011, was a little gem. Inexpensive but right up there with the best of the Europeans in terms of driving manners, the Rio was a car that deserved to do a lot better in the UK. It's been refreshed and Kia hopes this updated model will act as a memory jogger for those who'd overlooked it the first, second and third times round.

Kia might have changed quite a bit about this latest Rio but it has left the oily bits well alone, the Rio campaigning on a familiar theme of modest power outputs and sheer ease of use. Buyers in this sector don't require outright speed, instead valuing more prosaic attributes such as ease of parking, low steering effort, excellent all round visibility and the Rio excels in these areas. The Coupled Torsion Beam Axle rear suspension introduced in 2011 was a smart move, dialling out the understeer its predecessor had and was also more tunable than the old suspension. The ride is firmer but body control has been improved with less roll through corners. No small car can make significant headway without at least one super-efficient engine and the Rio gets a very impressive three-cylinder diesel. Although it only generates 81bhp, that's plenty for city duties and Kia has worked hard at engine refinement at low engine revs, that part of the power band you'll be using in urban areas. The 0-62mph of 16.4s looks a bit yawn-inducing but the torque figure of 162Nm means there's more zip than the sprint figure suggests. You will have to work the gearbox to extract it though.

The third-gen Rio was always a tidy looking thing, if a little generic. This update largely concentrates on giving the car a bit more aesthetic personality. The styling gets a slightly sportier edge with revisions to both the front and rear. The lower front air intake has been redesigned, as have the front fog light housings, which feature twin chromed horizontal bars. The rear bumper has also been modernised and incorporates a revised number plate strip and restyled reflectors. The sculpted flanks, intricately finished lights, 'tiger nose' grille and bold wheelarches remain, giving both three and five-door versions of the car a taut, poised look. The cabins are nicely finished, with tough materials used throughout. This time round, Kia has fitted some high-gloss black embellishments on the centre fascia, replacing the metallic effect formerly found on grades 2 and above, and there's also a chrome handbrake button. Grades 1 and 1 Air get black cloth upholstery, while grades 2 and 3 have a premium black cloth upholstery. Grade 4, which was introduced to the Rio range at the start of 2014, continues with black leather upholstery with faux leather inserts. As before, four tall adults can fit inside and the boot measures a decent 288-litres, which can be extended via the 60:40 split rear seats. There's also stacks of stowage space around the cabin.

The three-door cars start at just over £10,000, with the same engine in five-door guise adding another £600 to that price. The 1.1-litre CRDi diesel is only available with the five-door body and this opens at just over £12,000. If you want a diesel in the three-door body, you have to get the punchier 1.4-litre CRDi unit which is the range-topping three-door model at over £15,500. Even the entry level 1 model gets daytime running lights, speed-variable front wipers, headlamp levelling, front electric windows, a height-adjustable driver's seat, two-way steering column adjustment on the petrol model (tilt only on the diesel), a tachometer and trip computer, split folding rear seats, a boot light, a 12-volt power socket, USB and AUX ports and body-coloured bumpers, door handles and door mirrors. Bluetooth is also standard on the entry-level petrol model, and on all versions with other trim grades. The 1 Air grade adds air conditioning, while the 2, the most popular trim with UK buyers, gets 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, a cooled glovebox and electrically adjustable heated and folding door mirrors with side repeaters. Level 3 specification includes 17-inch alloys with low-profile tyres, ultraviolet-reducing solar privacy glass (on the five-door only), LED daytime running and rear combination lamps, automatic air conditioning with auto de-fog, rain sensing wipers, cruise control, automatic projection-type headlights, heated front seats and six speakers instead of four. Grade 4 models supplement all this with a smart key with engine stop/start button, an electric sliding and tilting sunroof, a heated steering wheel and leather upholstery.

The third-generation Rio has quietly done very well in terms of residual values, used buyers appreciating its strong reliability record, solid build quality, generous equipment provision, low insurance premiums and generous transferable warranty. Economy is very good right across the board, with the three-cylinder 1.1-litre diesel returning a massive 88.3mpg eked out via fuel-stretching ISG technologies (automatic stop-start, advanced alternator control, upgraded starter motor and low-rolling resistance tyres). Carbon emissions are pegged at just 86g/km for this model. There's also the 90bhp 1.4-litre four cylinder diesel that can better 70mpg and emits just 98/km, while those who prefer a petrol engine can choose between the 85bhp 1.25 and the 108bhp 1.4-litre units. Even the 1.4-litre petrol returns 53mpg and emits 114g/km. Every new Rio, as with all Kias, is covered by the best warranty in the business, extending to seven years or 100,000 miles on parts and labour. It excludes wear and tear items like brakes and tyres, but rest assured, Kia really looks after its customers.

The Kia Rio came of age with the third generation model and this facelift merely adds a little more sparkle. Unlike some mid-life updates, the styling refresh really does add something a bit extra to the Rio, giving it a bit more confidence than before, while the interiors now bear scrutiny against any of the best-selling rivals in the supermini division. With prices starting at a smidgeon over ten grand, Kia has kept the value proposition keen, building additional equipment into the Rio at little or no extra cost. It's a bit of a shame that the 1.4-litre diesel engine isn't available more widely throughout the range, but other than that it's hard to grumble. The usual verdict of 'good car, great warranty' sells the Rio a long way short. If you've overlooked it in the past, it's well worth another chance.

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The Kia Rio has recently been a smash hit from the Korean manufacturers; Kia. Since being released first back in 2000 it wasn't exactly breathtaking but since then has undergone some massive transformations and is now a gorgeous looking car! With a wide range of engines and trims to pick from there is sure to be one to suit your needs!

Kia Rio Key Points

Although the Kia Rio is seen as the Cee'd's little brother, it can definitely live up to the name of the Kia Cee'd. Reaching a high speed of 114mph and 0-62mpg in just 11.1 seconds, this 107BHP engine has an almighty go in it! Your enginges come in a choice of; 1.1 CRDi, 1.4 CRDi, 1.25 and a trim level of 1,2,3, Air, EcoDynamics, Air Ecodynamics or if you want to treat yourself with a little bit extra luxury why not go for the 1.1 CRDi VR7 EcoDynamics Special Edition model? The Kia Rio is spacious, has a high quality interior that is sure to keep you comfortable when driving and has good road handling to ensure your safety is a priority!

Why Lease a Kia Rio

Why lease a Kia Rio? Of course the Kia rio comes with a Kia 7-year warranty that is a deal breaker for most but not only that, the Kia Rio comes packed with features including Air Con, rain sensing front wipers, auto defog system, heated front seats, cruise control, parking sensors, glove box with fitted cooling system (ideal to keep your sandwiches and drinks in!!) and if this still isn't enough why not then go on and pick a paint colour to suit your style so you look the part? Leasing a Kia Rio is the ideal car for you if you do mixed driving due to it being a supermini so being able to maneuver around town with ease, then making your fuel stretch if you are doing long motorway drives... if this is you; what are you waiting for? Lease a Kia Rio today! 

Five reasons to lease a Kia Rio

  • Kia 7 year warranty
  • Perfect for all types of driving
  • Packed with features
  • Gorgeous looking exterior
  • A wide choice of engine and trim level


Overall, the Kia Rio is an ideal car for you to lease if you want to save money on your fuel and make it go that little bit extra extra. Coming from one of the fastest growing car manufacturers you will be sorry to miss out on these cracking deals! A spacious high quality car for a small price! Also coming with loads of interior features to play with you wont be bored driving this fantastic car when you take out a new car lease with All Car Leasing today!


As good as we are At All Car Leasing we can’t possibly know everything about the Kia Rio, so for further information on the Kia Rio why not check out the following resources –

The official Kia Rio page

The Kia Rio reviews on the Kia Website

Kia Rio owner’s club.