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Kia Rio: The value option

By Roger St. Pierre with Hazel Kempster

With it’s impressively well rounded range, Korean manufacturer Kia is fast establishing itself as the Aldi/Lidl of the motor industry.

Like the aforementioned supermarkets, the company swept onto the scene with a ‘pile ’em high, sell ‘em cheap’ policy then steadily added a strong quality quotient, along with that renowned seven-year warranty.

Take a look at the entry level Picanto, for example. Several years back, I rented one for a 1,200-mile road trip along America’s Eastern seaboard and through the Appalachian Mountains.

That little car was about as basic as you can get, with wind-up windows and manually operated wing mirrors and no sign of central locking, satnav or any of the other electronic fripperies that drain the batteries of today’s cars.

But that perky little tin can never once let me down and proved a reliable workhorse. Indeed, I’d, go as far as to say we bonded. More-over, with each succeeding upgrade this entry level model – now priced from an outstanding £8,145 on the road – has vastly improved its offer.

Go one model up the range and you’ll come to the equally well-sorted, Kia Rio, providing a choice of 19 variants, priced from £10,095 to £16,695, and offering both three and four door versions.

In its latest incarnation, this pert little supermini gets sporty new front and rear bumpers, smart new upholstery and fascia treatment and four engine options, including a diesel that can achieve 88-mpg – an official fuel economy figure that, at the updated Rio’s launch,, was unmatched by any non-electric car on sale in the UK, including hybrids and `eco' models..

Star features found in the range include, dependent on model, touchscreen satellite navigation, electrically operated and heated wing mirrors a quality DAB digital radio, a tyre pressure monitoring system, a luggage net and an under-tray.

Distinctive new 16 and 17-inch alloy wheels are standard on all but the two cheapest models.

Most manual versions come with intelligent stop and go while automatic transmission is available with the 1.4-litre petrol engine.

Of course, it’s no supercar but the Rio handles well, whether on bustling city streets or winding mountain roads while being exceptionally kind on the wallet, with low road tax and insurance costs.

With a price tag of £12,445, the SRZ petrol version I road tested can wring 104-mph from its 1.25-litre petrol engine and can get from standstill to 62-mph in 12.9-seconds.

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From Belfast Telegraph