It’s A Kia Carnival In Rio
The new Rio is designed and conceived at the Kia Research and Development Centre at Russelsheim in Germany and styled under the watchful eye of chief design officer Peter Schreyer.
The legendary Schreyer worked at Audi for more than 25 years. He first joined Audi in 1978 and was responsible for one of the most acclaimed cars of recent years, the original Audi TT. So his design credentials are impeccable. Since then he has worked his magic for Kia and this is evident in the latest Kia Rio which, some say, is setting the benchmark in the highly competitive B-segment of the market. Now the new Rio has made its way to our shores and was launched last week in Gauteng.
We attended the world launch in Europe a few months back and were as impressed then as we are now. At the time we weren’t too sure about the feedback from the steering in the left-hand drive European model, but found nothing to gripe about in the right-hand model which is available here.
A few years back the Hyundai/Kia group was hellbent on being the world’s top passenger car seller, but no more. The company has reached the magic two million global sales mark and wisely took note of other companies who were also chasing the number one spot. However, quality suffered and these companies were beset by recalls and other related problems. Not Hyundai/Kia. They realised that being number one was not their major objective; quality and a contented customer were what they were after. The Korean company capped production at two million.
Ray Levin, chief executive of Kia Motors South Africa, was upbeat about the Rio at the launch. “The new Kia Rio model is not an evolution of its predecessor, it’s a revolution. It’s extremely attractive with a fresh feeling of sportiness – a car that people will want to buy for its new looks, generous features and environmental credentials,” said Levin.
Levin said Kia’s market research predicted that global demand for B-segment cars was going to grow significantly over the next two years as consumers shifted to more economical, more fuel-efficient cars – downsizing to offset the continuous rise in fuel prices.
Analysts forecast that global demand for B-segment cars will climb to 9.2 million units in 2012 and to 14 million units by 2014. “Today Kia has a relatively low profile in the B-segment. Now with the new Rio, we are set to attract a host of new customers to Kia showrooms and it will appeal to a much wider demographic than before. The new Rio offers feature levels only seen on the C-segment and upwards,” said Levin.
The Rio will be sold in South Africa with a choice of two body styles (five-door and four-door sedan) with the five-door available now and the four-door from early 2012.
The five-door comes with two petrol engines (1.2 and 1.4 litre) and three derivatives (1.2, 1.4 and 1.4 TEC). It is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor and features a wheelbase extended by 70mm – greatly enhancing passenger space and cargo capacity. With an overall height of 1,455mm, the vehicle is one of the lowest cars in Kia’s global product range.
To lower fuel consumption, engineers carried out an extensive programme to shed weight across a broad range of components. As a result, although the new Rio is a significantly larger car than the third-generation model it replaces, with extra equipment, its weight-gain has been kept to a minimum.
On the road the 1.4 model which we drove was more than adequate for the Highveld conditions and what can be expected from a B-segment car. Fittings and finishes are good with more than the average bells and whistles for the gadget geek.
Previously Kia made its mark in South Africa solely on price. However, quality, price and customer satisfaction are now the company’s main focus, and with more than R100-million in the pipeline for development of infrastructure and dealer networks and, importantly, training, the new Kia Rio is at the forefront of the drive for increased sales.
Watch the Rio fly off dealers’ showroom floors!
It’s a great little car.
Engine (1.2): Kappa, DOHC, four-cylinder, dual CVVT/ 1,248cc
Power: 65kW @ 6,000rpm
Torque: 120Nm @ 4,000rpm
Acceleration: 0 to 100km/h in 13.1 sec
Top speed: 168km/h
Fuel cons: 5.4 l/100km
Engine (1.4): Gamma, DOHC, four-cylinder, dual CVVT/1,396cc
Torque: 135Nm @ 4,200rpm
Acceleration: 0 to 100km/h: Manual 11.5 sec; Automatic 13.2 sec
Top speed: 183km/h man, 170km/h auto
Fuel cons: 6.4 l/100km man, 7.0 l/100km auto
CO2: 151g/km man, 165g/km auto
1.2 man: R136,995
1.4 man: R154,995
1.4 auto: R164,995
1.4 TEC man: R168,995
1.4 TEC auto: R178,995
The very competitive prices
We don’t like:
Having to look for faults. It would be churlish!
Author: Bobby Cheetham
Source: Times Live
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