The light passenger vehicle market is where some of the fiercest competition among car makers rages and where price point is a critical factor in persuading a buyer to part with their money. So what does the new 2012 Kia Rio offer?
Across the range
Safety features across the range include six airbags, electronic stability control, hillstart assist, ABS brakes, EBD and brake assist.
Bluetooth connectivity and audio controls are mounted on the steering wheel and all models have air conditioning and heated rear-view mirrors.
Kia Rio S
Well for $16,290 plus dealer and government charges you get the base model … the Kia Rio S powered by a 1.4-litre four cylinder double overhead cam petrol engine fitted with variable valve technology coupled to six-speed manual gear box.
A four-speed automatic (Kia calls it a “manumatic”) gearbox is available as an option for an extra $2,000
That 1.4-litre engine produces 79kW of power at 6,300rpm and 135Nm of torque at 4,,200rpm. Fuel consumption on for city running for the manual is 5.7L/100km and 8.2L/100km for the automatic.
Kia Rio Si
The mid-range Kia Rio offers some interesting extras for not a whole lot more cash … $18,990 plus dealer and government charges.
For a start you get the 1.6-litre Gamma GDi (Gasoline Direct injection) petrol engine that produces 103kW of power and 167Nm or torque at 4,850rpm. Kia has coupled that engine to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic box. The manual is standard while the auto is a $2,000 option.
Fuel consumption for the 1.6-litre engine combined with the manual box is 7.7L/100km around town and 8.4L/100km for the automatic version.
Cruise control is standard on the Si and you also get a touch of leather, some extra instrumentation, a slightly upgraded sound system and some fancier trim in the new mid-range Kia Rio.
The Kia Rio Si rides on 16 inch alloy wheels.
Kia Rio SLi
For $19,990 plus dealer and government charges you can step into the top of the range Kia Rio.
For that price you get the same engine and choice of transmissions as you have in the Si but there’s LED daytime running lights, LED rear lights, dusk-sensing headlamps and the knowledge that you’re driving the top-of-the-range Kia Rio (that’s got to be worth something).
The Rio SLi rides on 17 inch alloy wheels fitted with low-profile tyres.
The 2012 Kia Rio will be available in 5-door and 3-door hatchbacks and a 4-door sedan but right now only the 5 door hatch is heading for the showrooms. If you want the sedan or 3-door hatch you’re going to have to wait till next year.
Are we seeing value for money in the new Kia Rio range? I think we are but with the Chinese are coming in at the bottom of the light car market you have to wonder whether the new Rio will sell as well as it once did.