Kia Rio 1.4 manual review

Kia Rio 1.4 manual

Kia are being very clever with their model line-up. They give you a complete car with all the necessary appliances, a choice of two trim levels , two engines sizes and either manual or automatic. Simple, effective. Just like their cars.

I tested the 1.4 manual Rio in basic trim priced at R157 995. You get a lot of car for your money.


She is beautiful. People take a second look. Kia have got it right with the Rio, whatever “it” means. The lines and dimensions are in balance and are pleasing to the eye.

Viewed head on, new Rio has its own unique interpretation of the Kia corporate grille, which is integrated with the front lights. It works well and is much prettier than the previous car. The new colours are also fresh and appealing. Fresh Beige  really suits this car.

In profile, the 5-door model’s shorter front overhang (reduced by 25 mm), lowered roofline and increased ratio of body-to-glass, combined with the car’s strong wedge form, gives new Rio a dynamic, sporty stance.

Alloy wheels are 15″ as standard but you can get 17″ wheels as an option.

She is an eye turner.


The new Rio’s cabin is more spacious than the previous model and also feels more spacious.

Storage space includes a large, 1.5-litre glove box, a larger centre console with 3-litres capacity and pockets to hold a 1.5-litre bottle in the front doors and a 0.5-litre bottle in the rear doors.

Features include items such as: steering wheel-mounted audio controls, radio CD player with MP3 compatibility plus AUX, iPod and USB connections and hands-free Bluetooth®. Feature highlights on the 1.4 TEC model are; climate-control air-conditioning, a rear park assist system with 4-sensors, rain-sensing wipers, LED daytime running lights and 17-inch alloy wheels (1.4 – optional/1.4 TEC – standard).

The leather steering wheel and leather gear knob feels good in the hand. The cabin looks smart.

Seat and steering adjust enough to find a comfortable driving position. The back seat spilts 40/60 and folds down.

The 1.2 Rio comes standard with 4 speakers, while the 1.4 and 1.4 TEC model is fitted with 6 speakers (4 door and 2 tweeter speakers).


The Rio handles much better than its Hyundai sibling. The brakes lack a bit of feeling, but the steering is very good, light but not dead. It goes where you point it. Handling is good. It feels sporty. With four adults on board you will have to use the gears, but if you are on your own it is a pleasing drive.

The manual gearbox is silky smooth and the clutch action just right.

Acceleration from 80 to 100km/h feels brisk and the Rio cruises with ease at 120km/h in sixth gear. It is an easy car to park.

Overall, a strong yes.


The interior is a bit plastic. You do get used to it though.

Not really a bad thing, but I missed the lack of park assist. On the other hand visibility is good.

Not a lot of power on hand when fully laden.


I really liked the automatic headlights. When you open the car with the remote the headlights come on if its dark. They also stay on for 30 seconds after you lock the car.

For a B-segment car there is a lot of space.

Build quality seems excellent.


Power 79 @ 6300, Torque 135 @ 4200. Consumption I got around 6.5 litres per 100km, combined city and highway. On the open road you should get very close to 6.3.

The Rio comes with a 5 year  or 100 000km warranty and 4 year 0r 60 000km service plan. The rust guarantee is only 3 years.


The new Rio is fun to drive, has the goodies you will want and seems to be well built. Highly recommended, but get a 1.4.


Prices start at R139 995 for the 1.2 manual. The 1.4 Tec Automatic costs R181 995. The car we tested was the 1.4 manual at R157 995.

2 thoughts on “Kia Rio 1.4 manual review

  1. I’m a proud owner of the kia 1.4 tec. Its very economical and it turns heads. I have to agree it does lack power and I don’t like the fact that the doors unlock as soon as the key is taken off the ignition. This car boasts stunning features. Great value for money. Thumbs up.

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