Kia has in its range a small class model with potential, but without the brand image enjoyed by rivals from Ford, Volkswagen, Opel and Renault. Kia Rio is closely related to Hyundai i20, and this year, it benefited from a restyle and mild hybrid engines. Test Kia Rio facelift. Photo: Bogdan Paraschiv
Kia Rio is the small class model in the Korean offer. It has been on the market since 1999, and the current generation is the fourth in the history of the Asian manufacturer. If, in the past, Kia proposed this model in the sedan version, from the third generation it became a small class hatchback. The current generation was launched in 2017 and can be identified by the grid specific to Kia models. Now, it has undergone a relatively discreet optical facelift and has been chosen with a number of technical changes. Specifically, mild hybrid engines.
The range of engines offered by the Kia Rio facelift consists exclusively of gasoline engines. The basic one remains the 1.2 MPI aspirated engine, which develops 84 hp and 118 Nm. Then, customers can choose from three versions of the one-liter, three-cylinder turbo engine – the one without the mild hybrid system, which offers 100 hp, followed by the MHEV versions of 100 or 120 hp.
Despite fierce competition, Kia Rio has a number of advantages, which we found in the newest version with facelift. The test car was presented in the maximum equipment that can be configured, with mild hybrid 1.0 T-GDI engine of 120 hp, automatic gearbox with two clutches and seven gears, GT-Line equipment line, with sporty accents and 17-inch wheels.
If we look back, the model we have in front of us is light-years away from the first generation Rio. Compared to the facelift-free model of the current generation Kia Rio, the new version offers some aesthetic changes, a larger interior display and a high-performance mild hybrid system. The latter is, without a doubt, the most important technical asset for Rio. Even if Kia does not yet offer a full hybrid variant, like the Honda Jazz and the new Renault Clio E-Tech, the Rio equipped with the engine officially called 1.0 T-GDI HP Hybrid Electric is an extremely interesting choice.
Kia Rio facelift – mild-hybrid propulsion
Compared to other competing models, Rio comes equipped with a mild hybrid system at 48 V and a battery of appreciable size, which we find under the trunk floor. Yes, the concession made to the mild hybrid system is the elimination of the spare wheel, instead there is now a wedge kit. The mild hybrid system assists the gasoline engine in demanding situations, being able to offer a boost of 18 hp, for a few seconds. In combination with the 7DCT automatic transmission, which also allows you to disengage the gearbox and stop the engine in coasting mode, to reduce fuel consumption and pollutant emissions.
The 1.0 T-GDI engine offers 120 hp at 6000 rpm, but more importantly it has a maximum torque of 200 Nm between 2000 and 3500 rpm. Thus, Rio feels even agile in any situation, the power being always present. The three-cylinder turbo engine climbs easily in laps, and in Sport mode, it responds extremely quickly. The seven-speed gearbox changes well and intuitively, but we don’t have flaps on the steering wheel for manual mode. If we want to take control of the gear change, we must use the lever.
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In terms of fuel consumption, Kia announces 5.5 l / 100 km for an average distance and 6.7 l for the urban route. During our test, the on-board computer reported a consumption of 7.5 l / 100 km for a few days of exclusively urban use.
Road holding has been clearly improved, but Rio is still not at the dynamic level of the Ford Fiesta and VW Polo. In addition, equipped with 17-inch wheels, the suspension becomes much too firm, and city-specific bumps (speed limiters, tram rails) feel much too heavy in the passenger compartment. The steering, on the other hand, is precise and provides enough feedback through the steering wheel.
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Inside, Rio offers a normal space for the small class. The trunk has 325 liters and is deep enough. Some plastics may not be of the highest quality, and Kia Rio still retains analog dashboards, but it doesn’t bother me at all. The GT-Line equipment brings a range of standard features such as 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, chrome trim, mixed upholstery, eco-friendly fabric and leather, perforated leather steering wheel, alloy pedals and rear parking sensors.
Optionally, you can choose LED headlights, LED stop lamps, electric folding mirrors, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, automatic climate control, reversing camera, etc. The range of the Kia Rio facelift has a starting price of 13,343 euros (VAT included), without the Rabla program. For the version with mild hybrid engine, the price starts at 16,158.
Kia Rio facelift GT-Line is the most sporty and attractive version of the small class model produced in South Korea. The one-liter turbo engine with mild hybrid system is excellent in the city and on the long road, but the suspension is too firm in combination with 17-inch wheels.
- Turbo mild hybrid engine
- Reduced fuel consumption
- Seven-speed automatic transmission
- Hard plastics inside
- Analog dashboard
- No spare wheel
|TECHNICAL DATA||Kia Rio facelift|
|Model||1.0 T-GDI HP 7DCT Hybrid Electric GT-Line|
|Engine / no. cylinder||L3, turbo|
|Maximum power / speed (hp / rpm)||120/6000|
|Maximum torque / speed (Nm / rpm)||200 / 2000-3500|
|Gearbox||automatic, 7 steps|
|L x W x H||4065 x 1725 x 1450|
|Luggage compartment volume (l)||325-1103|
|Empty mass (kg)||1253|
|Acceleration 0-100 km / h (s)||10.3|
|Top speed (km / h)||190|
|Mixed consumption (l / 100 km)||5.5|
|CO2 emissions (g / km)||126|
|Price (euro with VAT)||20,467|