Sprint Review: Kia Rio Hatch 1.4 LS Auto

Thanks to the unstoppable armada of SUV’s, hatchbacks are following their sedan brethren by dying a not-so-slow death in our sales charts. Nonetheless, Kia still makes this wholesome Rio and we give you our quick impression of it.

You should know: Because Hyundai and Kia dig into the same parts bin, this grey RIO (or 10 Rand, as a colleague christened it) is about the size of the locally discontinued i30. Its chief rivals include the VW Golf and Toyota Corolla Hatchback, two further victims drowning under the avalanche of stylish crossovers.

More info: We think that this Kia certainly has better looks or proportions (and road holding) than those lanky and top-heavy SUV’s but it simply doesn’t matter to most buyers because its 140mm of ground clearance aren’t enough for getting to an MTB race, nor will its 1460mm height tower above any traffic.

What else? Visibility and seating position are fine (read: on par with today’s cars) while all major controls are light and easy to operate; erring on the side of inert. Kia ships the Rio in various grades with 1.2 or 1.4L naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engines, manual or auto gearboxes, and escalating spec levels.

Why you shouldn’t: This low to mid-spec LS has no parking aids or stability control but at least offers ABS, airbags and a few other must-haves. Its 1400 engine doesn’t quite tilt three-figure horsepower outputs while its lack of torque (just 135Nm at a rather high 4200rpm) spells mediocre performance in most daily conditions.

Why you should: The upside of its Spartan power unit is fairly decent claimed fuel use of 6.2L/100km and predictable service / lifespan of the drive train. Included in the price of around R310,000 is a generous five-year warranty and four-years or 60,000km service plan.


Engine:1.4L i-4 petrol
Transmission:6-speed Automatic, FWD
Max. Power:73kW
Max. Torque:135Nm
Avg. cons.:(claimed 6.2)
0-100km/h:11.57 seconds (claimed 12.9)
Top Speed:Claimed 175km/h
List Price:R308,995

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