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Kia Rio 1.4 CRDi 3 Eco review

Date: 21 February 2017   |   Author: Andy Goodwin

Standard equipment: Aircon, Bluetooth, DAB radio (2 and above), reversing camera (2 and above), faux leather (3 and above), Apple CarPlay (3 and above), keyless entry (First Edition).
Engines: Petrol: 99hp and 118hp 1.0, 83hp 1.25, 98hp 1.4 Diesel: 76hp and 89hp 1.4
Trims: 1, 2, 3
Transmissions: Five-speed manual, six-speed manual, four-speed auto

Worldwide, the Rio sells in vast quantities (473,000 last year), but it has struggled in the UK where the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa are almost a national institution.

Cue the new model, with improved engines, more space, the latest tech and still with Kia's seven-year warranty. Getting a head start on the arrival of the new Fiesta and Seat Ibiza could help too.

The 1.4-litre diesel with 76hp will be of particular interest, because its headline economy figures of 80.7mpg and 92g/km of CO2 place it within reach of some of the cheapest superminis to run, even if it still can't touch the Peugeot 208 BlueHDi. This engine replaces the clattery 1.1-litre three-cylinder CRDi engine, which was even more thrifty, but took 16.1 seconds to get from 0-62mph, while the larger engine takes 13.5.

This makes the most parsimonious Rio much more driveable, especially in the 89hp guise we tested, which emits 98g/km of CO2, returns 74.3mpg and accelerates from 0-62mph in 11.6 seconds, while a slick six-speed gearbox helps keep it in its sweet spot.


The carry-over 1.25 and 1.4-litre petrol engines aren't likely to be of much interest to fleet customers, but the 1.0-litre T-GDi with 99hp is worthy of consideration. As well as being more fun to drive, emissions of 102g/km, a claimed economy of 62.8mpg, a competitive P11D and 17% BIK Band helps keep things very affordable too.

It's not quite as fun to drive or as accomplished as the Fiesta or Mazda 2, but it takes corners in its stride with minimum fuss and braking confidently. Our only gripe is the suspension, which absorbs speed humps well enough, but transmits too many small road imperfections and some road noise into the cabin.

Superminis might have to be called 'supermaxis' soon, with the Rio's boot now 13% bigger, at a Ford Focus-beating 323 litres, but still 7-litres shy of the Skoda Fabia. Adults can easily sit in tandem without bruised knees, and like an increasing number of rivals, the Rio is five-door only, improving rear access without looking dowdy.


Kia is known for its generous kit, and the Rio boasts enough equipment to make a luxury saloon owner blush. In the '3' spec we tested there's a heated steering wheel and seats, faux leather upholstery, automatic wipers, a seven-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility along with Bluetooth featuring voice recognition.

All this tech does bump up the price though, so for many customers the still very generously equipped '2' trim with the 76hp diesel will be a welcome £2,000 saving.

As it stands, the Rio is neatly styled, well-equipped and economical, but, it's no longer a cheaper alternative to rivals, so its main advantage in the class may be Kia's unrivalled seven-year warranty.   

Kia Rio 1.4 CRDi 3 Eco

P11D Price: £17,190
On sale: February 2017
Residual value: 30.8%
Depreciation: £11,890
Fuel: £4,491
Service, maintenance & repair: £1,576
Cost-per-mile: 39.3p
Fuel consumption: 74.3mpg
CO2 (BIK Band): 98g/km (19%)
BIK 20/40% per month: £54/£109
Boot space: 323 litres
Engine size/power: 1,396cc/89hp


  • Improved steering
  • Large boot
  • Smooth diesel
  • Lots of equipment
  • Some cheap materials
  • Brittle ride quality