What is it?
Kia's smallest and cheapest hatch. But don't be fooled because the Rio is a substantial and some might say desirable little car these days, with a choice of a 1.4 or 1.6 direct injection engine.
Prices start from $15,290 for the three-door manual S rising to $18,990 for the five-door mid spec Si and $21,990 for the top of the line five-door SLi auto.
What are competitors?
What's under the bonnet?
An old school 1.4-litre multipoint injected petro four with 79kW/135Nm or a more sophisticated 1.6-litre direct injection unit with a significant 103kW/167Nm.
A 6-speed manual is standard, with optional 4 and 6 speed autos for the 1.4 and 1.6 models respectively (the 6 is obviously more desirable).
How does it go?
It's the same 1.6-litre GDI engine as that in the Hyundai Veloster and offers satisfying performance, but still not quite enought to set the world on fire.
Is it economical?
The 1.6 auto is rated at 6.1 litres/100km. It takes standard unleaded and we were getting 7.5 after about 250km.
Is it green?
Yep. Amazingly gets a five-star rating from the Government's Green Vehicle Guide the same as a hybrid Toyota Prius.
Is it safe?
With a full complement of safety systems including six airbags and electronic stability control it scores a full five stars for safety from ANCAP.
Is it comfortable?
Although classed as a small hatch the Rio is in fact quite roomy inside, more so than say the Fiesta for instance with comfortable, good-sized seats.
What's it like to drive?
Looks terrific and has a big car feel, with substantial performance under foot. But it always feels as though there's something holding it back.
Is it value for money?
All models come with Bluetooth connectivity and CD audio with AUX, iPod and USB connections, along with steering wheel audio controls.
But to get the 1.6 you need to take at least the Si which also gets you cruise control. Daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, projection front headlamps, static cornering lamps, auto light control and an enhanced brake package in the range topping SLi.
Would we buy one?
Well, maybe not because it's not our demographic, but the daughter likes the look and feel and is pretty keen on getting into one.
Kia Rio SLi auto
Price: from $21,990
Warranty: 5 years
Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder, 103kW/167Nm
Transmission: 6-speed auto, FWD
Thirst: 6.1L/100Km, CO2 145g/km