Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review: 2013 Kia Rio 1.4 EX Hatchback

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Peter Schreyer, you are an absolute genius. Normally, it’s hard to fall in love with the design of a sub-million peso car, and a sub-compact car no less. But take a look at the Kia Rio. We happened to drive the budget-friendly 1.2 SLX and now we have the 1.4 hatchback. A single glance is enough to tell you that this is one special car. From tip to stern, the Rio’s an absolute beauty. It’s avant-garde, sporty, sophisticated—there’s absolutely no weak point in the Rio’s design.

A single glance alone is enough to make you fall in love with the Rio, but try giving it a good wash and you’ll just lust over it even more. Down to the smallest of details, it feels like a million bucks. The subtle curves, the athletic character lines, even the five-spoke high luster silver/black alloy wheels all blend together to create a sensual experience. Moving over to the lamps, both the front and rear combination lamps are filled with interesting design details from the white “brow” and LED position lights in the headlights to the distinctive glow of LEDs in the brake lamps. Of course, since it’s a Kia, you can’t help but mention the Tiger Grille. The gapping grille is more cosmetic than functional with its relatively small air opening, but seen in conjunction with the large black lower facia and faux brake ducts, it leaves an impression of aggressiveness. Perhaps the only thing that’s missing is HID headlamps, which could have filled those projector-type headlamps quite nicely.



Inside, the Rio carries a very sporty and serious demeanor with its all-black interior. Given the color scheme, it’s easy to fall into the trap of ending up with a cold and detached interior, but this car manages to toe the line very well; credit perhaps to the use of aluminum trimmings on various areas of the car. Aside from the high-quality look, the interior detailing is first rate. The Tiger Grille design is clearly echoed in the vents, switches, audio buttons, and get this, even the CD slot opening. This entire experience gives the Rio a cohesive look inside and out. In addition, the build quality is first rate. And though most of the materials are of the hard variety (it’s a budget-conscious sub-compact after all), at least the buttons, controls, and stalks all offer crisp engagement.

With a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, it’s quick to the find the perfect driving position. Despite the small side mirrors and even the absence of a C-pillar window, overall visibility is quite good save perhaps through the rear glass, where the small hatch glass reduces the Rio’s parking prowess somewhat. Thankfully, rear parking sensors are standard equipment on the hatchback. Other standard equipment on the Rio hatchback includes automatic climate control, cruise control, a full-featured audio system with Apple iPod support, and even Bluetooth hands-free.



With a push-button engine start/stop, a thick three-spoke steering wheel, and an instrument panel that sweeps during ignition, the Rio is giving hints that it’s a sporty sub-compact. With a modest 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, things don’t seem promising on paper, but the 107 horsepower, 137 Nm of torque outputs at least puts this car squarely in the middle of its competition.

With a four-speed gearbox (with a manual override function), the Rio makes short work of spotlight duels. It’s light and spritely with good off-the-line power delivery all the way to around 60 km/h to 80 km/h. After that though, acceleration almost becomes nonexistent, but it can still reach speeds past 120 km/h given enough pavement. Because the Rio’s behavior is designed to combine both respectable speed and acceleration, overtaking can be quite challenging. However, given enough room, the Rio can zip past other traffic. Though the gearing compromises the Rio’s performance figures, it results in better than expected fuel economy figures: 12.98 km/L mixed driving (10.10 km/L city, 15.38 km/L highway).



Like the Rio’s powertrain, the chassis and suspension is clearly in the middle of the sport and comfort equation. The platform, using MacPherson Struts upfront and a Torsion Beam Axle at the back, is good with excellent NVH isolation. Together with a solid body, there’s no squeak or rattle inside and wind noise is kept at a minimum even at triple digit speeds. However, the combination of the low-profile 205/45R17 rubber and soft springs don’t make for a great pair as some road ruts would send shocks and shudders into the cabin. It also tends to unsettle the Rio, especially the rear suspension.  The steering effort is very light and quick, but is surprisingly stable on the highway.

The word ‘Rio’ conjures images of the world-famous Brazilian Festival which is fun and jubilant. In that regard, Kia has nailed the design and engineering (for the most part) of its sub-compact, especially in its range-topping hatchback form. Under Peter Schreyer, Kia’s now a showcase of design innovation, quality, and technology. At 838,000, the Kia Rio is a clear statement embodying all those qualities wrapped around a surprisingly affordable package. What can you say? Peter Schreyer is a genius.




45 comments:

  1. This car really got my attention since the first time i saw one parked in a parking area of a mall. I was lost when i first saw the back of it wondering what car is it, until i saw the emblem. I was amazed by the design that it kinda look like a VW Golf Gt. If i have the money i will certainly pick this one. a white one.

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    1. Same here. Saw it in Trinoma last week and it has been driving in my mind. With a low DP, I really want to get one. I am scheduled to have a test drive next week but I can't seems to find really good reviews about its performance in a long drive. Perhaps Manila to Subic or Manila to Quezon Province per se.

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  2. Very interesting fuel mileage.

    Everyone I've encountered who has a Rio HB has their FC playing at 6-8 km/L. That's 2.0-territory.

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    1. Well, fuel mileage is largely dependent on driving habits and road conditions.

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    2. There's a whole thread over at Tsikot.com with about a dozen owners all getting dismal FC from this 1.4L engine.

      Pretty sure you're the outlier and not them.

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    3. Could be, but again...fuel mileage is dependent on driving habits and road conditions. I could have been lucky when I got the Rio to get those mileage, but that's what I got. And I take the same route and do the same routine when re-fueling. In fact, I refuel at the same pump/station each and every time!

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    4. Very true. I tried driving in the province steady speed 170 km roundtirp and I got 14 K/L. In the city, it's a gas guzzler at 5-7 K/l, but more on the 5 considering traffic. Aircon is cool and power is great. At least from my style of driving.

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    5. EDIT: Very true. I tried driving in the province steady speed of 70 - 80 kph doing a 300 km roundtirp and I got 14 K/L. In the city, it's a gas guzzler at 5-7 K/l, but more on the 5 considering traffic. Aircon is cool and power is great. At least from my style of driving.

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    6. is the model in the philippines the EX is also key less entry and push start button?

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  3. may nakita ako na kahawig nang shape nito yung ford car na ka pangalan,
    sa ibang bansa pa ito eto link http://www.autoevolution.com/news-g-image/spyshots-mystery-small-ford-hatchback/131107.html#sjmp if you look at it carefully may similarity even back passengers window
    para sakin very pricey kia rio pero kung may pera din ako na ganyan bibilhin ko nadin yan kahit na may 1.4 fiesta ako magka engine matipid :) pati nadin sonic

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    1. Yes, they're saying that the Ford HB could be a car slotting below the Fiesta in terms of size. Could likely be for the European or China market.

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  4. kappa engine na ba ito? bat parang ang tipid?

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  5. What exactly is your route? And what sort of driving style? I wonder how it is you are able to get such remarkable gas mileage from this car!

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    1. My route entails daily driving from Marikina to the Ortigas CBD and back via C5 or White Plains. And we had the Rio for 5 days. Mileage is determined via the on-board computer.

      The highway route is a drive from C5 to the end of STAR Tollway and back with a reset of the on-board computer.

      The overall mixed fuel economy figures are determined by the usual kilometers traveled divided by number of liters used.

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  6. Drive test car lang po ba ito na pinahiram ng kia or from an actual owner? Parang sobrang tipid nga..

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    1. This was a test drive unit. When it arrived, I checked the tire pressure and adjusted it to 33 PSI on all four corners. After which, I drove like I normally would. I had the car for 5 days.

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    2. Maybe the test drive unit is much more better than sold ones. Or at least sobrang alaga po sa shop as in very good running condition na hindi na realistic after owning it for a few weeks. Suggestion ko po sir sana meron din review hindi lang sa test drive unit kundi pati sa newly purchased units.

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  7. Wow ganda taxi!

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  8. Replies
    1. Yes.

      http://www.carguide.ph/2013/08/kia-launches-rio-ex-s-priced-at-p-848000.html

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  9. patulong nman to pick the right car..I only have 3 concerns when choosing a car to buy..fuel efficiency,power & design. I also have 3 car prospects, the Honda City 1.3S, Ford Fiesta 1.5L sedan and lastly the Chevy Sonic sedan. They were all equipped with manual x'mission. Please help me to decide which best car to choose regarding with my 3 concerns. Thanx!!!

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    1. Honestly, I haven't tested any of the manual transmission variants of the models you have mentioned. That said, I love all these three sub-compact sedans. However, the Chevrolet Sonic could use a lower price point and, more importantly, better fuel economy.

      The Honda City 1.3 S is certainly getting old already, but it's still quite good. Actually I love the City drivetrain compared to any other sub-compact out there. But if you were to get the City, I'd highly suggest the 5-speed AT--that's a lovely combination.

      The Ford Fiesta with the 1.5-liter engine is quite new. I wonder when I'll be able to get to drive that. Hopefully soon :-)

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  10. patulong nman to pick the right car..I only have 3 concerns when choosing a car to buy..fuel efficiency,power & design. I also have 3 car prospects, the Honda City 1.3S, Ford Fiesta 1.5L sedan and lastly the Chevy Sonic sedan. They were all equipped with manual x'mission. Please help me to decide which best car to choose regarding with my 3 concerns. Thanx!!!

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  11. How about the Nissan Almera 1.5 A/t...is it worth buying? i heard it is fuel efficient..something like 20km/l...totoo ba to?

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  12. Another thing...how about the chevrolet spin 1.5 A/t....okay ba ito? i plan to buy this kasi this year.

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  13. I got mine last Feb. 19, 2014 and I was really amazed by its looks and sporty feel. Even its FC is great, my best highway FC was 7.2L/100Km and my worse city FC was 8.9L/100Km based on the on-board data. So far, so good and my ODO reading is 261Km.

    I really love this car.

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    1. Hi all i just got mine last nov 20. First it was terrible on gas but after reaching 2k km, traveling back to manila from tagaytay was 5.9L/100km. Now driving in city is pinned to 7.6L/100km. Im not sure why it has to reach 2k before it become fuel efficient. Anyone?

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  14. Hi Ulysses! I love the features of this car. But my concern is the power and reliability of the engine. Would you recommend this to someone who travels from manila to tagaytay frequently?

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    1. I can't really speak about the Rio's long-term reliability. Best to ask owners for that.

      However, what I can say is that the Rio is acceptably powered. It's not really fast, but it's not really slow either. If you're going over flat surfaces such as highways and then perhaps, Sta. Rosa, the Rio's fine. However, you might find that the engine taxing itself on the climb up Tagaytay.

      If you're frequenting Tagaytay from Manila, why don't you consider a car with a larger engine?

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    2. Hi Ulysses! I just have a budget of 850k. Will hyundai accent hb be a better choice?

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  15. Hi Uly, what's your take if this would be compared to the 2014 Altis? I like the new Altis but this one's such badass (pardon my language)

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  16. Hey guys which is better: tucson 2014 A/T or this kia rio 2013 1.4 ? Looking forward go your reply. Thanks.

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    1. of course figure wise from our best friend google Tucson 2014 is far better. Kia rio is a Sub Compact while tucson is Mid size SUV

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  17. Hi, got mine last June 25. A manuat 1.4 kia rio sedan. Fuel consumption from tagaytay to trece i achieved a 3.1L/100km. With traffic from trece to imus, I averaged at 6.8L/100km. I use a fuel with RON of 95 to 97 (least would be 100 octane). I would definitely say that fuel consumption is dependent on the driver. Drive agressively then fuel will be high. Fuel consumption has been the same since I got it until now which i already travelled 1005km.

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  18. Been driving this car for more than a year now yet still kicking. Driving in Style and young at heart - Kia Rio HB is the right choice. 6L of gas for 100km is not that bad. Accurate air pressure, not-in-hurry driving style is the key to achieve good FC.

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  19. I reserved an ex-s sedan version of this yesterday, been searching for the silver color but most dealers say that the sedan model is already phased out. Good thing I found one after calling about 14 dealers in metro manila and nearby provinces.

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  20. I wnna get kia rio hb...can smbody help me hows the long drive from mnila to bagiuo.and manila to quezon...tnx

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  21. My Philippines model 2014 EX has 17" wheels, smart key, rear parking sensors, rain sensing wipers and bluetooth. Plus it drives really nice and the styling is awesome.

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  23. I own this car for 8 months already with average fc of 9.7l to 10.5l / 100 kms from imus to andrews avenue pasay via aguinaldo and coastal road. slow accelaration but once at 80kph , you can easily reach 120kph and even high powered suv are getting behind my rio

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  24. Do you recommend this for a college student?

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  25. you have only one review on kia cars so far. why sir uly?

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