LAUNCH DRIVE: New Kia Rio is a comfortable and generally likeable hatch

By Alicia Pillay Time of article published Dec 2, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - The new Kia Rio has all the comfort one looks for in an affordable hatchback.

The car, first introduced in its current generation in 2017, was recently rebooted with a facelift and there are some nifty new features but we will get into that later.

I had the pleasure of driving the Rio 1.4 manual and I was pleasantly surprised with the drive. The car handled very well on windy, bumpy roads and not to mention navigated over potholes in some cases.

The six speed gearbox adds to the sporty feel of the car, but a six-speed autobox is also available for those who prefer to let the car do the work.

For a car that isn’t very big the Rio handles rather well and the comfort of this car really stands out, it’s one that you can take on the long open road and actually enjoy the drive.

The new touch screen infotainment hub is a great feature as it gives your access to your media at your finger tips in a safe way. The display icons on the screen are large and easy to view and use.

In you are a front seat passenger you can also benefit from the standard USB and auxiliary-in ports, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. All models also have media features on the steering-wheel making it more accessible for the driver.

When it comes to space for the size of the car it has plenty of room for the driver as well as passengers in the front and backseat(s). And don’t worry the boot space is adequate for the size of car. It could easily fit a decent size suitcase or in my case, as a mom, a good amount of stuff!

The car also comes with pre-fitted ISOFIX mountings, should you need to put in a car seat and staying with a car seat, I found that given the amount of space in the back seat, you could easily manoeuvre in a car seat without too much hassle.

The exterior changes really give the Rio a more modern and upmarket look, particularly in the case of the base LS model that now comes standard with 15-inch alloy wheels. The visual updates have taken this car from one that you usually get when you hire a car to one that you won’t mind owning.

Four specification grades have been retained, and along with driver and passenger airbags (including side and curtain airbags in the TEC model), the Rio features front seatbelt pre-tensioners with load limiters, child locks, and impact sensing door unlocking. ISOFIX child seat anchors (as mentioned) are standard across the range, as is ABS braking.

CLICK HERE for a summary of the specs and pricing.

As an entry point to the Rio range, KIA still offers the Rio 1.2 LS but, importantly, have added a 1.4-litre LS model to the range, in manual and automatic.

In terms of the price of the car, it's a competitive one. With the facelift as well as added features you are getting a lot for car got your money.


1.2 LS Manual - R280 995

1.4 LS Manual - R291 995

1.4 LS Auto - R308 995

1.4 LX Manual - R306 995

1.4 LX Auto - R323 995

1.4 EX Manual - R319 995

1.4 EX Auto - R336 995

1.4 TEC Manual - R344 995

1.4 TEC Auto - R361 995

IOL Motoring

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