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Reader test: Kia Rio 1.4i

2008-12-10 07:22

Nivan Moodley

I have just purchased a Kia Rio and, I must say, it's awesome.

However, a lot of people I speak too about this car don’t even know it exists; come on Kia, some better marketing is needed for this model.

Okay, back to the car.

The styling is excellent with the flared arches and wicked headlights and fog lamps add that little sportiness to the package as well. I added a boot spoiler just to finish off the look.

I also opted for the smash-and-grab film, a must not only for the obvious security reasons, but also due to the amount of burning sun rays that it keeps out.

Comfy cabin

The interior has all you would need from electric mirrors to exceptionally comfortable seats that are adjustable over a wide range, excellent trimmings and well-placed speedo and rev counters, unlike some cars... Ahem, think Toyota's Yaris.

There is a lot of space within the cabin with a fair amount of leg room and a lot of storage compartments throughout. All the controls are easily accessible, well except the volume control which seems to be just out of reach, but who needs it when you can blast your music with the six-speaker system that comes standard on this model.

The drive is really smooth and road noise is almost non existent. The engine has a nice tone and when you give it that little bit extra there is definitely power to use in those quick overtaking manoeuvres that we all experience due to our friendly neighbourhood taxis. Most of the power is available in the high revs, so you do need to give it stick to get the true feel of the engine’s capabilities.

For a 1.4-litre, I am very impressed with its straight-line acceleration (well, once the revs are up at least) and the engine is more than capable of keeping speeds even when going uphill. In terms of handling, the car is good and there is hardly any body roll to mention. So if you drive responsibly, the car will look after you in those tight corners and emergency situations.

A few niggles

On the negative side, there is a fair bit of rattling from the boot, I think due to the boot mat which doesn’t fit snuggly and the backboard also gives a bit of noise here and there.

I’m hoping that a bit of foam padding will do the trick to stop it; although I think the rattling is so prominent because you hardly get any noise coming from the outside of the car. I guess there is a positive in there somewhere.

The airconditioner also puts a big strain on the engine and the drain in power can be felt immediately once the aircon is turned on. You need to be careful if you've just turned the aircon and decide to overtake - you might come up short.

On the whole the car is of a very good build quality and offers value for money. I would suggest it to anyone who wants to move out of the compact car range and into a bigger car segment.

READER TEST: If you'd like Wheels24 to publish your car review, submit your original work (not exceeding 500 words) to us at feedback@wheels24.co.za. Please remember to include a few photos for us to use along with your published test.

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