2012 Kia Rio 3-dr SLS Auto
- Vital Stats
$19,990 - $21,990
Back in the day, the KIA Rio was a mediocre runabout which ticked the boxes as a small car, but wasn't much to write home about. But in 2012, the Reborn Rio is hogging all the spotlight in the small car category. This hot hatch is sassy and sexy, with plenty of integrity and is making headlines for all the right reasons.
Style and Drive
The KIA Rio fits the bill for first-time buyers right through to yuppies looking for a hot hatch. The car is available in 3 door, 4 door and 5 door models across four variants - S, Si, SLi and the SLS. I had the pleasure of zipping around the city in the three-door SLS auto which starts at $19,990 ($21,990 auto).
On first jumping in, I found the acceleration and brake pedals to be a little sensitive and the driver’s seat to be set too close to the ground. But low and behold, once I discovered the pump which adjusted the height of the seat, I had a lot more control over the pedals and my driving experience greatly improved. For a small car, the Rio has plenty of presence on the road. The car is planted close to the ground which adds a welcome element of control – something other small cars tend to miss out on. This makes for easy handling and manoeuvring, whether on the highway or in the parking lot. However, the 17 inch wheels do make the drive a bit bumpy at times.
To their credit, it’s these wheels which take the Rio SLS from good to glam. The Rio’s ‘look’ has improved in leaps and bounds on the out-going model. It’s quite sleek and has great proportions. For a car of its size, this ‘hot hatch’ offers a spacious cabin and an incredibly roomy boot. However I felt the trunk’s high window impaired my rear vision. Space could be a little restricted in the back seat because of that generous booty, but unless you plan on driving the Wallabies around, comfort isn’t going to be too compromised.
The SLS features keyless entry which is always a treat if you maintain a large handag. The dashboard has the full treatment – an MP3 compatible CD player with AM/FM tuner, AUX/USB input with iPod compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel mounted audio controls and virtual surround sound with 4 speakers in the front and rear doors. The speedometer sits nicely infront of the steeringmwheel and certainly isn’t hard to miss. There’s also a small information screen within the speedo which provides updates on fuel consumption. The SLS also features some fancy add-ins including leather trimmed seats, climate control air conditioning, rain sensing wipers and auto defog system.
The Reborn Rio has received a five star rating from ANCAP. Standard safety features across all variants include six airbags, anti-lock brakes with brakeforce distribution, stability control, hillstart assist and emergency brake-assist.
S – 1.4MPI petrol auto/manual, 3 door/5 door
Si – 1.6GDI petrol auto/manual, 4door/5 door
SLi – 1.6 GDI petrol auto/manual, 5 door only
SLS – 1.6 GDI petrol auto/manual, 3 door only (test-driven)
Describe the car in three words
Sassy, grounded, youthful
What are the best things about this car?
The Kio Rio has the presence and stability of a car twice its size, which makes it both pleasant and easy to drive. The driver’s seat also adjusts in both height and length, so you can find a really comfortable fit.
What are the downsides of this car?
Until you become more familiar with the car, the acceleration and brake pedals can feel a tad sensitive. Also, the high windows on the door of the boot slightly impair rear vision.
What kind of petrol does it use?
Very much – this is a fantastic car for both first time buyers and second or third time buyers who want a top-notch ‘hot hatch’ from the small car category.
If personified, who would this car be?