Skip advert
Advertisement

Kia Rio 2 2015 review

Can light refresh keep Kia Rio supermini fighting fit in competitive class?

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

Find your Kia Rio
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
Hassle-free way to a brand new car
Or are you looking to sell your car?
Customers got an average £1000 more vs part exchange quotes
Advertisement

The Kia Rio still has plenty of appealing features, including a high-quality cabin, seven-year warranty and a comfortable ride, but rival superminis are ahead in a few key areas. Kia is planning to release a new 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol soon, which could merit an extra star, but for now, this engine and spec is merely adequate in a class where adequate isn’t quite enough.

Advertisement - Article continues below

With an influx of highly important new superminis appearing in 2015, Kia has given its Rio a minor facelift to ensure it isn’t left behind. We drove the 1.4-litre petrol model in mid-range 2 spec to see if it has upped its game.

On the outside, the four-year-old Rio’s looks remain fresh and are aided by subtle bumper alterations that came with the revamp. Inside, meanwhile, the roomy cabin doesn’t change too dramatically, but it is a little more upmarket. Material and trim quality have improved, most noticeably with the gloss-black dashboard inserts, and while you won’t be bowled over by new technology or design flair, it’s easy on the eye, intuitive to operate and feels solidly built.

Our model lacked the new seven-inch touchscreen sat-nav included on higher-spec cars. The standard radio (now with DAB) is user-friendly, yet the display looks dated.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

On the road, it’s clear that the Rio is biased towards comfort rather than taking the Ford Fiesta head-on for handling. That’s no bad thing, as you get a refined, smooth ride around town and quietness at higher speeds. Body control is adequate, but it’s a shame that the steering is still vague.

The 107bhp 1.4-litre petrol is carried over from the old model, but now gets stop/start as standard. With six gears, it’s reasonably flexible for a non-turbo unit, yet it gives away its modest 136Nm torque output at higher speeds. You need to rev the Kia hard to extract its best performance, and doing so exposes thrashiness at higher revs. Take it easy, however, and it’s smooth and refined.

The 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo units in the Vauxhall Corsa and Fiesta are more relaxing, gutsier and cheaper to tax, plus they’d easily match our 43mpg test economy.

The problem is, the Rio isn’t quite the bargain it once was. The Hyundai i20 offers marginally more kit for less, and you can have a mid-spec Skoda Fabia with its clever MirrorLink touchscreen and punchy TSI petrol for the same money. A turbo petrol unit is on the horizon, but for now, the Rio makes more sense in cheaper SR7 spec with the three-cylinder diesel engine.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

New Nissan Qashqai gets angry, as best-selling family SUV receives aggressive facelift
Nissan Qashqai reveal - front
News

New Nissan Qashqai gets angry, as best-selling family SUV receives aggressive facelift

In addition to its new much sharper design, the Qashqai now features Google apps and voice assistant built in
17 Apr 2024
New 2024 Audi A3 takes the fight to BMW and Mercedes with £32k price tag
Audi A3 Saloon - front action
News

New 2024 Audi A3 takes the fight to BMW and Mercedes with £32k price tag

The updated Audi A3 is available now, with the hot S3 version due from May
16 Apr 2024
Car Deal of the Day: sensational BMW M2 is a bargain at this price!
BMW M2 - front tracking
News

Car Deal of the Day: sensational BMW M2 is a bargain at this price!

Our Day of the Day for 18 April is the formidable BMW M2 performance car
18 Apr 2024