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FREEWHEELING January, 2012

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Whispering Rio is oh so Grande

FreewheelingScotland.com — Driving the way forward


KIA RIO 2 THERE WAS A TIME when only luxury brands such as Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Daimler offered a blissful, totally silent environment in which to travel. The rest, well we just had to grin and bear the mix of various levels of decibels thrown out by the engine, gearbox, exhaust and tyres as we trundelled merrily along our way. But how times have changed for today, thanks to those lightweight sounddeadening materials strategically placed throughout a vehicle, coupled with all the rest of a modern car’s high-tech wizardry, very little noise now seeps its way into a passenger cabin . . . unless of course we’re behind the wheel of a rampant sports car. And this is no more evident than in the latest offering from South Korean giant Kia, for their new Rio 1.4-litre petrol hatchback has to be one of the quietest B sector cars on the marketplace. So much so, that with the machine sitting at junctions waiting for that small break in the traffic in order to nip into the flow, on more than one occasion I thought the car had actually packed up on me. So, what’s the new Rio really all about? Well, this Korean-built supermini takes over the mantle from the previous model which built-up a reputation for offering no-frills

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KIA RIO 2

motoring at a great price backed by the best warranty in the business. But the newcomer now offers much more, as Kia gear up to meet an explosion of demand in the supermini sector expected over the coming years as more and more private owners and fleet managers alike seek to downsize to reduce running costs. Now the Rio comes with much more style than before, thanks to input from Kia’s chief designer Peter Schreyer who oversaw such metallic masterpieces as the Audi TT, new VW Beetle and Mk IV Golf.

And you can also see some SEAT Ibiza/Leon design cue doubt influenced by Schreye work for the sporty Spanish Quality, too, has been incre plastics, upholstery and swi superior today than Kias of But it is in fuel economy an

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e of those strong es in the Rio, no er’s previous marque. eased, with itchgear far old. nd emission

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KIA RIO 2 stakes where Kia have done the hard work, for all four engines in the range – a 1.25-litre and 1.4-litre petrol pairing and a 1.1-litre and 1.4-litre CRDi diesel duo – offer anything between 51.4mpg and a mind-blowing 88.3mpg, with the sole exception of the 1.4-litre petrol unit fitted with a four-speed automatic gearbox which returns 44.1mpg. CO2 figures range from an unbelievable low 85g/km in the three-cylinder 84bhp 1.1-litre CRDi EcoDynamics version to 128g/km in the 1.4-litre petrol, with the automatic figures slightly higher at 150g/km. In busy town traffic the Rio, as expected, does its job more than competently, silently keeping up with the masses without fuss. But I was even more impressed after a trip from Glasgow down to Scarborough where, thanks to the car’s supportive seats and not overly firm suspension set-up, I arrived fresh and pain-free, unusual for me in a car of this size. However, to be fair, the Rio doesn’t particularly like bumps and rough surfaces – not many cars do – but it did handle the motorway and dual-carriageway sections as well as many other larger, more expensive vehicles. Three distinct trim levels make up the Rio range, simply 1, 2 and 3, while a 1 Air model has been added which offers air conditioning to the two entry level models.

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KIA RIO 2


Standard features throughout the range include items such as daytime running lights, body-coloured bumpers, door handles and mirrors, speed-variable front wipers, headlamp levelling, front electric windows, tachometer and trip computer, split folding rear seats, 12-volt power socket and an MP3-compatible RDS radio and CD player with USB and AUX ports, so you will never feel in any way short-changed in this Korean belter. Level 2 adds 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, rear electric windows, a cooling glovebox, heated/folding door mirrors, leather trimmed steering wheel and gearshift and a centre console armrest, while premium black upholstery adds the finishing touch. Range-topping level 3 sports 17-inch alloys with low-profile tyres, privacy glass, LED daytime running and rear combination lamps, automatic air con, rainsensing wipers, cruise control and heated front seats. But the pièce de résistance for any buyer has to be Kia’s fully-transferrable seven year/100,000 miles warranty. It makes you wonder, but if Kia can do it, what’s really stopping other manufacturers from doing the same?

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KIA RIO 2

Price: ÂŁ13,095. Mechanical: 1396cc, 107bhp four-cylinder petrol engine, driving front wheels through six-speed manual gearbox. Max speed: 114mph. 0-60mph: 11.1 seconds. Combined mpg: 51.4. CO2 emissions: 128g/km. BIK: 15 per cent. Warranty: seven years/100,000


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KIA RIO 2

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Kia Rio 2  

2011 Kia Rio 2 road test by FreewheelingScotland.com

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