Kia Rio was launched in 2017, and got a quick update in late 2018.
Some the Sport model replaced the old mid range offerings, and an updated equipment list was offered. This brought loads of tasty goodies such as active lane control and monitoring, and AEB. Most importantly, the GT Line and it’s 1.0L engine came in to being.
Kia is slowly rolling out the range topping GT Line as models receive refreshing.
GT Line added a body kit adding some extra meat along the under the doors, and 17” alloy wheels. Low profile tyres look great but make the ride slightly harder, and the cabin slightly noisier.
Headlights include a static turning light. Instead of the headlight turning as the steering wheel turns, a side light illuminates instead. This less expensive solution is equally effective, and arguably more reliable.
Reverse camera and rear sensors top off a range of accoutrements every driver will want to have.
The profile is muscular and begs to get a hot hatch maker.
GT Line has a couple of bespoke additions to give the cabin a touch of exclusivity.
Carbon fibre look dash inserts, and sports seat fabric look good. Seats are comfortable with firm support.
Clever storage includes cup holders and cubby holes in the centre console, and cleverly designed bottle holders and stowage bins in the doors.
Space in the front is excellent with a steering wheel adjustable for reach and tilt. The rear is snug of there are 4 tall adults on board. Rear seats includes 2 ISOFIX points.
Air conditioning is manual, as is the cruise control controls are within easy reach, made even easier with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and the brilliant voice control which comes with it. Instruments are clear and easy to read. In short, the cabin is well designed and efficient.
Generally, the cabin feels airy, snug and cosy.
Front and centre is the 7” tablet with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
Some say the 7 year warranty/capped price service/roadside assist isn’t a feature, but a benefit. I say, it it a feature I couldn’t live without.
Additionally, GT Line has AEB and active lane monitoring. It will steering you back in to your own lane should you wander.
The doors lock themselves to prevent hijacking, and headlights come on at night all by themselves.
None of these things seem special in expensive European cars, but this is a a car for cost-conscious entry-level buyers. Why should they miss out?
Drive and Engine
Everything about Rio screams economy.
A 1.0L 3 cylinder turbo petrol engine runs on regular unleaded, with a combined economy of 5.4L/100k. It is as low as 5.0L/100k on the open road which rises to 6.2L/100k around town.
Kia uses its in-house designed 7 speed DCT (dual clutch transmission) automatic to get the 88kw/172Nk to the front wheels.
There is a strange raspy tone thanks to the 3 cylinder engine’s firing order. It’s strangely sporty, but not sporty enough for Kia to publish a 0-100kph figure.
The direct injection 3-pot feels leisurely as a city car should.
Steering and suspension have been given Graeme Gambold’s magic makeover. He is Kia’s Australian performance and handling expert and prefers a sportier stance.
We kept our duties to those a buyer of a city car might do on a regular basis.
An airport run and some food shopping were dispatched with ease. When it came to parking, the diminutive Rio got in to tight spaces easily with a reversing camera and loads of sensors. You have to be blindfolded to hit something going backwards.
Brief stints on a tollway showed Rio was comfortable on the open, but there isn’t quite the performance to make a long road trip pleasurable.
Rio is a basic, fun little car.
Rio received a 5 Star ANCAP rating in 2017.
GT Line standard features include:
- Lane keep assist
- Reverse sensors
- Reversing camera
- Forward collision warning
- Hill start assist
- Driver attention alert
- Stability control
- 6 airbags
- Impact sensing door unlocking
- 3 child restraint and 2 ISOfix points
- Side impact beams
- Childproof rear locks
- equipment and safety features
- smooth DCT automatic
Not so Good Bits:
- some cheap plastics
- no smart entry/start
- road noise
Kia Rio GT Line finds a sweet spot between price and practicality.
There is a surprising amount of gear on board in a cabin that is comfortable enough even the tallish among us to be contented.
Rio is made in the Sohari plant alongside my favourite Kia, the Stinger.
I rate Rio at 8/10.
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Facts and Figures: 2019 Kia Rio GT
- Engine: 1.0 L 3Cyl Turbo producing 88kW/172Nm
- Transmission: FWD 7speed DCT Auto
- Warranty: 5 Yr./ Unlimited km with 5 Yr. roadside assist
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Sohari, Korea
- Price: from $21,990 (drive away)