Kia Rio 1.1 CRDi EcoDynamics
Very clean, very green three-pot diesel
Attention to detail
Climate control aside, the basic model has a decent amount of kit, including a USB port and 3.5mm socket for your music - though the sound the stereo makes can only be described as acceptable - Bluetooth phone connectivity, folding wing mirrors, and all the cubbyholes, cup-holders and airbags you could wish for.
The seats are comfortable, and the driver's footrest is perfectly sized and placed. The gear change for the six-speed box is slick and precise, and the pull-to-engage-reverse collar on the gear knob superbly engineered.
Five doors for good access
There are also other signs of serious attention to detail. The steering wheel and stalks are laid out in a manner that lets you easily see the latter through the former, and there are two 12V outlets so there are no arguments about who gets to charge their mobile phone first.
Get out on the open road and again things are again surprisingly good. Ride and handling are both perfectly competent, and road noise is kept well at bay. The steering feels a bit vague around the dead-ahead mark but you never get the felling that things aren’t heading in the direction you intend.
The 1.1-litre three-cylinder diesel is very economical - and pretty refined too
At just shy of twelve grand - the air conditioned model is £800 more - the Rio EcoDynamic isn't a cheap car though pound for pound you do get a lot more space than with a five-door diesel Vauxhall Corsa or Ford Fiesta, neither of which will get as far down the road on a gallon of derv as the Rio.
Extremely frugal, well made, not unreasonably slow and impressively spacious - not the most exciting epithet a car can have, I grant you, but the Rio is still a thoroughly competent piece of engineering that will appeal to anyone who wants a versatile five-door hatch with a cast-iron warranty along with minimal fiscal and environmental impact. ®
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