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Kia Motors South Africa has expanded its Rio range with the addition of a 1.6-litre sport model in both sedan and hatchback configurations. This new engine – a powerful four-cylinder with continuous variable valve timing (CCVT) – will be available with both a manual and automatic transmission, in the Korean manufacturer’s spunky B-segment contender.

The third-generation Rio has been one of Kia’s local success stories since its launch in September 2001 and has become one of the brand’s most successful seller thanks to its blend of practicality, quality, affordability and sparkling character.

The Rio has also received some notable accolades, in July of 2007, JD Power and Associates announced that the Kia Rio had ranked the highest in initial quality in the sub-compact segment. This was also the second consecutive year that the Rio had received this prestigious award. In addition the Rio has been rated with one of the best in class interiors for its segment.

The name Rio says it all and comes from a Spanish word, which – roughly translated – means passionate and dynamic, you get plenty of both in the eager newcomer. Its engine produces a strong combination of power and torque – 82 kW and 146 Nm respectively – to provide zesty outright performance as well as willing high-gear pulling power that will suit the needs of South African motorists.

The combination of this CVVT engine’s free-revving characteristics and low-down torque not only make it invigorating to drive in both five-speed manual or four-speed automatic guises, but also result in high efficiency.

Fuel economy is impressive and during internal KIA Motors Corporation testing the manual transmission sedan returned an overall figure of 6, 4 liters per 100 km, yet it is capable of sprinting to 100 km/h in 10, 2 seconds en route to a 190 km/h top speed.

In keeping with the performance capabilities, 1.6-litre versions get a full-house of safety equipment, starting with front, side and curtain airbags and ‘active’ front head restraints which are designed to cradle the upper body and neck in event of a rear impact. In addition, the 1.6 models have the same brake specification as its high-spec 1.4-litre stable mate: ventilated discs at the front and drums at the back, with ABS and EBD assistance.

Like all other Rio models, the newcomer also has a host of ‘passive’ safety features such as front and rear fog lights, high-mounted brake light, height-adjustable headlights, and a wash/wipe function on the rear window of the hatchback. While it shares these features with its 1.4-litre siblings, the newcomer will certainly stand out if parked side by side.

Key exterior features include a grille with a trio of horizontal bars picked out in chrome, and a rear spoiler on the tailgate or boot lid on the Sedan version. Adding to the bigger-engine model’s presence are a set of handsome 16-inch alloys shod with 205/45 rubber.

The overall effect is of a well-proportioned design in both body configurations, with a sense of style that is even more satisfying and distinctive than before.

The generous tyre choice also has a dynamic benefit and they provide excellent grip in all conditions, accentuating the sporty handling which characterizes the Rio. Sharper steering and a firmer ride are additional benefits which will appeal to the young-at-heart driver at which the car has been pitched.

For those wanting a sportier and active interior the new look will be appreciated with two options available. The Sports package boasts bold red stitching on the perforated leather of the three spoke steering wheel as well as the seats – upholstered in a body-hugging mix of charcoal fabric for the side bolsters and a highly-breathable yet plush mesh for the centre portions – give the cabin a special ambience.

The red stitching extends to padded inserts in the door panels and the leatherette gearlever gait.

Chrome finish on the door release levers and handbrake knob add further class and style as does the aluminum-look finish on the steering wheel spokes, hang down centre section surround, gear knob, and air conditioning control wheels. As a final signature line, the 1.6 versions get sporty metal pedals with rubber contact pads.

For those wanting to be different than the rest, then the Colour Package is the perfect Option. The Colour Package boasts a sporty red and charcoal leather steering, seats and door trim. Funky red transmission and air-conditioner knobs are added to make the whole interior look more fun to drive.

The Rio has lost none of its practicality in its transformation to a more overtly performance-orientated package though. A 60/40 split rear seat is fitted to both body shapes, with the possibility of two different backrest angles. The cushions are also split in similar fashion enabling them to be independently tipped forward, allowing for a great deal of loading flexibility.

This user-friendly approach and the positioning of the Rio 1.6 is an ideal choice for younger buyers – with or without children -and is also apparent in the fitment of an Auxiliary input socket, a double-Din CD head unit with MP3 compatibility and a speaker constellation which includes a pair of front tweeters.

Exterior mirrors are electrically adjusted as well as electric front and rear windows. Central locking, a full-function driving computer and sunglass case in a roof module which includes a pair of map-reading lights add up to a car which is as effortless to live with as it is eager to cover distances.

Price & Warranty

So it should come as no surprise that the April 2008 1.4 and 1.6 Rio’s with all its specifications and added value options will be priced from

  • April 2008 Rio 1.4 High Spec Manual R129 995
  • A/C, Dual Airbag, ABS, EW, PS,
  • RD/CD +MP3 +Tweeter Speakers
  • Keyless Entry, CL, Alarm, T/Key
  • Rio 1.4 High Spec Automatic R139 995
  • A/C, Dual Airbag, Abs, EW, PS, RD, CD+MP3 +Tweeter Speakers
  • Keyless Entry, CL, Alarm, T/Key
  • Rio 1.6 High Spec Manual R149 995
  • A/C, Dual, Side & Curtain Airbag, Abs, EW, PS, RD, CD+MP3 +Tweeter Speakers Keyless Entry, CL, Alarm, T/Key
  • 16’Alloy Wheels, Alloy Pedals, Chrome grill, Rear Spoiler (Sports and chrome Package Optional)
  • Rio 1.6 High Spec Automatic R159 995
  • A/C, Dual, Side & Curtain Airbag, Abs, EW, PS, RD, CD+MP3 +Tweeter Speakers Keyless Entry, CL, Alarm, T/Key
  • 16’Alloy Wheels, Alloy Pedals, Chrome grill, Rear Spoiler (Sports and chrome Package Optional)

Pricing on all April 2008 1400 and 1600 Rio’s includes Kia’s industry leading 5 year/100 000km warranty incorporating 3 year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance. An additional service plan of 2years/ 45000km for peace of mind motoring. Servicing is required at 15000km intervals or every 12 months whichever occurs first on all models.

Kia Motors Corporation (www.kia.com) – a maker of quality vehicles for the young-at- heart — was founded in 1944 and is Korea’s oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. As part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Kia aims to become one of the world’s premier automotive brands. More than 1.4 million vehicles a year are produced in 14 manufacturing and assembly operations in eight countries which are then sold and serviced through a network of distributors and dealers covering 165 countries.

Kia today has over 33,000 employees and annual revenues of almost $17 billion. It is the major sponsor of the Australian Tennis Open and an official worldwide sponsor of the Davis Cup. Kia is an official automotive partner of FIFA — the governing body of the FIFA World Cup — as well as a EUROTOP partner of UEFA. Kia Motors Corporation’s brand slogan — “The Power to Surprise” — represents the company’s global commitment to surpassing customer expectations through continuous automotive innovation.

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