Johannesburg - Let’s face it: four-speed automatic gearboxes certainly have a place in the world, but that place happens to be the automotive museum.
Yet there are still a few cars out there that feature such a configuration, albeit quite understandable in the ultra price-sensitive sub-R200 000 hatch market, but perhaps less so among more premium compact hatchbacks like the Kia Rio, which are gunning for a slice of the Polo pie.
Thankfully Kia has just upped its game in that regard, by replacing the four-speed automatic gearbox that was previously offered as an option on its 1.4-litre Rio models with a brand new six-speed unit, which is also a conventional torque converter unit.
Priced between R264 995 and R305 995 (see full list below), the new auto models command a small premium of R3000 over the outgoing four-speed equivalents.
The normally aspirated 1.4-litre engine continues unchanged with outputs of 74kW and 135Nm, but the gearbox does perk up overall performance levels, with the claimed 0-100km/h sprint time improving from 13.2 to 12.9 seconds and top speed from 166 to 175km/h.