The sun is shining and the pressures of everyday life are fast disappearing in the rear vision mirror.
It is a mild winter’s afternoon and with a few hours to spare, there can be no better idea than to hit the road and test out the latest offering from the motoring gods.
And I’ve got just the car for the occasion – the Kia Rio LX; a medium sized car with a small price tag and a big list of features.
There is a lot of car here for the money. It is packed full of great technology, and the best safety features. It feels simple, uncluttered and easy to use.
Aside from the occasional bump of the steering wheel when the car corrects itself from drifting too close to the edge of the road and the 7-inch touch screen on the console, there is little to give away the technology that lies beneath.
It is astonishing that a car in this price bracket has advanced features like the Lane Keep Assist system and Autonomous Emergency Braking (This means it will brake when it senses a collision is unavoidable
Also pretty amazing for a car in this price bracket, there is Apple Car Play and Android Auto. The LX model doesn’t have satellite navigation but the higher spec EX, LTD and 1.0 litre turbo GT models do. This doesn’t really matter too much if you pair your phone to the car because then you have all the apps you want anyway. That’s the beauty of Apple Car play and Android Auto.
I took the Rio out of the Tauranga Motor Company yard on the corner of Cameron Rd and 3rd Ave and headed for Greerton. This is a car that is going to appeal to a lot of different people so we took it around the city, through Papamoa to the Mount before coming back down Hewletts Rd and into the city.
There really is very little to complain about with this car. It drives well, corners well, the ride quality and comfort is good. It has a good range of safety features.
The Lane Keep Assist works great on the big motorways. This feature is designed as a safeguard on long drives and is most effective and useful on motorways and straighter roads. Less so on windy roads.
Inside, it is nice and roomy in the front seats. There is seating for three people in the back and there is good headroom in the back. The seats all fold down or can be laid down in a 60:40 split which makes this a really versatile vehicle for a young family, as a company car and for commuters.
The interior is nicely designed with woven cloth seats. The steering wheel has tilt and telescopic adjustment and you will find a little bit of luxury with the composite leather steering wheel and gear knob.
Fuel economy doesn’t disappoint at 6.0 litres per 100Km. That makes for pretty inexpensive motoring.
Back on the road, the Rio LX cruises nicely and the 6-speed auto transmission doesn’t muck around during gear changes.
We have already touched on some of the safety features that contribute towards this car boasting a 5-star ANCAP safety rating. One of the main features in this department is the dual front, side and side-curtain airbags.
The brakes are also worth mentioning – they are pretty important for most people. It has ABS with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) – this adjusts the amount of brake force applied to each wheel, depending on the road conditions, load etc.
All-in-all this is a fantastic vehicle for the money. This is a whole lot of car which is fun to drive, practical and safe.
Kia Rio LX is also available in a 6-speed manual while three other specifications are available including a 1.0L Turbo with 7-Speed DSG gearbox.
Pop down and see the guys at Tauranga Motor Company, on the corner of Cameron Rd and 3rd Ave for a test drive.
Model: Kia Rio LX
Engine: 1.4 litre petrol
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Power: 74kw @ 6000rpm
Torque: 133Nm @ 4000rpm
Price: as tested SRRP $20,490 normally RRP $23,490 + ORC