Kia Rio sedan delivers value

By THOMAS HUONG | 9 August 2016

The B-segment Rio is Kia Motors' bestselling global model, and it's easy to see why after we lived with it for three days.

This is the sedan variant with a 389-litre boot, which was launched in Malaysia in January 2016.

The Rio has been a major driver of Kia's success in recent years, as the Korean automaker churned out well-designed, sleek-looking cars with a contantly improving reputation for quality and reliability.


It also helped that Kia cars are known for being packed with nice features.

Now, in this case, you don't get push-start ignition, powered seats, reverse camera, a touchscreen display, automatic air-conditioning or rear air-conditioning vents.

What you do get for RM72,888 on-the-road, are important safety features like six airbags, electronic stability control (ESC), all-round disc brakes, hill assist control (HAC) and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

There's also a cabin that feels spacious, with more than adequate head and legroom for four adults as we discovered when making a 250km round trip from Petaling Jaya, Selangor to Raub and Sungai Klau in Pahang to sample the "king of fruits" during the recent durian season.


The interior is sensibly designed, with decent storage options like a deep centre glovebox and cupholders between front seats, door pockets and a compartment behind the gear stick.

There's a USB port (useful for charging smartphones), and a six-speaker CD/radio/MP3-capable audio system with 800MB of memory and Bluetooth. The tilt and telescopic steering wheel allowed us to better adjust our driving position.

We liked the solid and comfortable fabric seats, dark and sporty theme of the cabin, the signature "three cylinder" instrument cluster, and well-laid out controls and switches.

Running on Hankook Kinergy Eco tyres sized 185/65 R15, the Rio sedan has solid fit and finish, and everything seemed well put together.


The motor-driven power steering is precise, and the cabin was quiet and comfortable during our drive to Sungai Klau.

With a 109ps power output and 137Nm of torque, the car did not feel underpowered even when occupied by four adults on uphill stretches on the Karak Highway.

Power delivery from Kia’s 1.4-litre Gamma DOHC CVVT engine is smooth, via the four-speed automatic transmission.

When driven at 80kph on smooth highways, we noted the engine speed was around 2,000rpm.

At 110kph, the engine speed was around 3,000rpm.


Ride quality is comfort-biased, with a front MacPherson strut and rear torsion beam suspension, and we found it to be quite well-tuned.

The Rio sedan has sporty looks, especially with Kia's signature "tiger-nose grille".

In summary, the Rio sedan is a value-for-money deal that is family-friendly and practical, and definitely does not feel cheap.


It has solid built quality, impressive safety features for the B-segment, and provides smooth and enjoyable motoring.
With a five-year warranty and unlimited mileage package thrown in, the Rio deserves a good look from B-segment sedan buyers.

In terms of price, after-sales warranty, airbag protection and safety features, it certainly outshines the competition.





CarSifu's Rating: 7.0