New Kia Rio overview

2011 Kia RioIf you think that low CO2 emitting small cars are the preserve of Volkswagen and other European car makers it’s time to think again. Kia surprised industry watchers with the recent public debut of its new Rio supermini.

The previous Rio’s profile was never that high, however this turnaround is proof that Kia really does mean business with its new Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Peugeot 207 rival.

As part of the Korean company’s strategy to make a bigger impact in the European small car market, Kia’s new Rio aims to emulate the best the West has to offer. For many buyers this means one thing: affordability. With the Rio, Kia is boasting of a new low in terms of CO2 emissions plus bolder looks and improved quality levels.

And with a headline-grabbing figure of 85g/km CO2, rival motor makers are taking notice. Bucking the trend with low capacity petrol engines, this figure is achieved with a 1.1-litre diesel engine and a now familiar engine stop-start system. Fuel economy also promises to be impressive, with figures as low as a claimed 88mpg. Elsewhere, the Rio boasts a 1.4-litre diesel motor plus a pair of petrol units in 1.25 and 1.4-litre guise.

Economy, although important, is only one element of the Rio’s appeal. Designed to be visually more striking than its predecessor, it’s also a fraction larger in a bid to better accommodate the growing trend for, well, growing occupants.

Along with class-beating economy and a more attractive exterior, this latest Rio presents a more polished interior to the world. There’s been a noticeable effort to improve the cabin, with the end result that the various plastics look and feel better than before and there’s more kit – standard and optional – available.

With this generation of Rio, Kia is very clear that it wants a greater slice of the small car market. Like its new Picanto, the Rio you see today is a substantial step forward in every department.

From the car’s impressive economy credentials to the significant uplift in all-round quality, the Korean company’s progress in a few short years has been nothing short of astonishing.

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