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Kia Rio 1.6 litre Sedan (2006)
The recently released new Kia Rio is honest. It represents an honest advance over the previous model and it’s honest budget transport at its $15 990 drive-away price.
And at that price, buyers even have a choice of a four-door sedan or five-door hatch.
The Rio’s 1.6-litre, variable valve timing engine is a willing worker and, in class segment terms, offers good performance.
Highway passing still requires some forethought though and when cruising on the highway at 100 km/h the engine feels a little busy, spinning at more than 3000 rpm.
The light, easy clutch and functional control layout mean the Rio isn’t a chore to drive. The steering is also light and easy around town, but lacks feel and displays rack rattle over rougher surfaces.
Handling is acceptable around town. However, it leans heavily on the outer front tyre when cornering speeds rise and the Korean tyres offer modest grip. Better tyres are likely to improve overall handling and grip levels.
An area of obvious improvement over the old model is the overall finish and quality of the new Rio, and it’s also larger. This includes paint and panel fit and the functional, if not stylish, interior trims.
For light car buyers with more dollars to spend, there are better cars in the class. But at its drive-away price and offering standard dual airbags, airconditioning and a 1.6-litre engine, the new Rio looks a convincing enough argument for value-driven buyers.
Price, equipment, improved finish, easy to drive
Cabin noise, headlight performance, tyre grip and handling
||Rio 1.6-litre Sedan
|Price when new
|Current price range
$ - $
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This review is based on road testing conducted by The Road Ahead. Further vehicle reviews, in-depth comparisons and coverage of consumer motoring issues can be found in the Club's magazine. Prices listed were current at the time of review and are manufacturers list prices and do not include statutory and delivery charges. Prices can vary from time to time and dealer to dealer.