2020 Kia Rio S Review


May 28, 2020

The 2020 Kia Rio light hatch keeps things simple, but places itself under pressure from within Kia’s own ranks.

Once the domain of cheap and cheerful runabouts, the light-car segment in Australia, where the 2020 Kia Rio sits, is facing a double strike of cost pressures. Buyers expect more technology and equipment, pushing prices up, and right now exchange rates are unfavourable, further amplifying the effect.

We’ve already seen the Mazda 2 move out of the low end of the segment, deleting its previous base model to cover the effects of a price rise and pushing itself upmarket. A new Toyota Yaris is on the way, and is expected to do something similar.

Kia, for the time being, is holding firm on the Rio. It’s sticking to the low price, no-frills format that helped the brand get a foothold in the Australian market.

The cheapest Rio S starts from $17,490 plus on-road costs, or more realistically, and in typical Kia style, has a drive-away price of $17,990 with a six-speed manual, or just $1000 more for the fleet-special four-speed automatic.

Kia provided the manual on this occasion. Despite the popularity of automatics, manuals still represent a decent slice of this often price-sensitive market.

The showroom conundrum facing buyers in the sub-$20K spectrum is Kia’s breadth of options. For $300 less, you could drive away in the sports-stylised and better equipped, though slightly more compact, Picanto GT-Line. Tough call.

Sticking to the Rio for a moment, the basic package runs a 1.4-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine with a six-speed manual transmission sending power to the front wheels.

Equipment includes 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps, power windows, remote central locking, a small LCD driver’s info display with a digital speedo, power windows, power-adjustable mirrors, fabric seat trim, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, front seatbelt height adjustment, and steering wheel adjustable for height and reach.

Read the full review here…