Jaco van der Merwe
Infotainment system and alloy wheels now standard across range.
During times of financial uncertainty consumers place a premium on good value, something Kia offers in abundance with the updated Rio.
Apart from a few exterior styling tweaks, the biggest changes to the facelifted version of the Korean carmaker’s popular hatchback line-up have been the addition of a few standard features and two new models in entry level LS guise. The LS nomenclature was previously only reserved for a solitary 1.2 manual offering, which is aimed more at rental fleets than private buyers.
The two new LS offering feature the 1.4-litre petrol engine that does duty in the rest of the line-up in manual or automatic transmission. With these two models, Kia has managed to do something very rare: make them more affordable than before. The most affordable 1.4-litre derivative in the Rio line-up is now R3 000 less than before, with the line-up’s cheapest auto version also costing R3 000 less. All three LS derivates also come with 15-inch alloy wheels, as well as an eight-inch touchscreen system with six speakers which is standard across the entire range.
Kia hopes these tweaks, along with its impressive unlimited kilometer/five-year warranty, will give them added impetus in a very competitive market segment. The Rio currently holds five percent of the market share, four places behind market leader the Volkswagen Polo.
“While the Rio 1.2 LS was always envisioned as more of a corporate fleet offering, there has also been notable interest from private customers on the more affordable LS grade,” comments Stephen Crosse, Sales Director, Kia Motors South Africa.
“By adding the more powerful 1.4-litre powerplant, better infotainment and alloy wheels to this grade, private customers will benefit from much more value over the previous LS models, without having to pay a significant premium.”
Further tweaks for the various trim levels see LX derivatives inclusive of electronic stability control, hill-start assist control, auto up/down and safety feature on electric windows, folding function and integrated indicator lights on electric side mirrors and a 4.2-inch instrument cluster display. EX models now come standard with feature 17-inch alloy wheels, while the top-of-the-range TEC derivatives get rear seat alert.
Standard safety specifications include ABS, driver and passenger airbags, front seatbelt pre-tensioners with load limiters, side door impact beams front and rear, child locks and impact sensing door unlocking, plus ISOFIX child seat anchors.
While the exterior styling enhancements are subtle, it does give the Rio a sportier look. The key visual changes include the addition of bi-functional LED projection headlights, a flatter signature “Tiger Nose” radiator grille, a flat air intake just below the grille and new fog light housings. Two new colours, Perennial Grey metallic and Sporty Blue metallic, has also been added to the Rio line-up.
Like before, the 1.2-litre engine sends 61kW/120Nm to the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox. The 1.4-litre powerplant produces 73kW/135Nm and is mated to a choice of six-speed manual of six-speed automatic transmission. All models come standard with an unlimited km/five-year warranty. The Rio 1.2 LS includes a two year/60 000 km service plan, while all 1.4-litre models includes a four year/60 000 km service plan
Rio 1.2 LS – R280 995
Rio 1.4 LS – R291 995
Rio 1.4 LS AT – R308 995
Rio 1.4 LX – R306 995
Rio 1.4 LX AT – R323 995
Rio 1.4 EX – R319 995
Rio 1.4 EX AT – R336 995
Rio 1.4 TEC – R344 995
Rio 1.4 TEC AT – R361 995
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