Little beauty called Rio is 21st century in all aspects

Mabuyane Kekana

Mabuyane Kekana

It's amazing how Korean carmaker Kia has emerged since it arrived in South Africa 10 years ago.

The Kia Rio is one of the models is so much more than just another Korean car. In fact, it is one of the little beauties in the B and C-segments.

When the Rio 1,6 Sport hatchback came for a road test a few weeks ago, it caught my attention.

I have an interesting history with the Rio.

I bought my Rio in 2002, but mine was nothing like this one.

The current generation Rio is a 21st century car in every respect and is one of Kia's most successful models. Hopefully by now the Koreans have enough back-up spares here.

The 1,6-litre engine produces 82kW of power and 146Nm of torque. These figures are enough to silence the ever complaining South African car buyers.

The Rio is not lacking when it comes to safety.

It is fitted with front, side and curtain airbags and active front head restraints which are designed to cradle the upper body and neck in the event of a rear impact.

It is also equipped with active safety features such as ABS and EBD.

Key exterior features include a grille with a trio of horizontal bars in chrome and a rear spoiler on the tailgate or boot lid on the sedan.

Adding to the bigger-engine model's presence is a set of handsome 16-inch alloys shod with 205/45 rubber. Sharper steering and a firmer ride are additional benefits. Chrome finishes are great too.

As a final signature line, the 1,6 version has sporty metal pedals with rubber contact pads.

With that comfortable ride and its good looks, the is no reason why the Rio shouldn't be fully accepted. However, you need R149995 to own this Korean creation.