Low base price, nice cabin design, pleasant styling, fair space
Limited safety features, slow, firm ride with alloy wheels
The Kia Rio is all-new for the 2012 model year. Attractively designed, it is available in 4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback form. The only engine for the GCC is a 1.4-litre 4-cylinder with variable-valve timing, mated to a 4-speed automatic. While mechanically basic, the Rio can be had with a host of features unseen in the sub-compact segment. Standard features include 14-inch steel wheels with hubcaps, manual a/c, CD/MP3 stereo, adjustable steering wheel, central locking, power windows, electric mirrors and only one airbag. The mid-range model gets 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps, centre-console armrest, fog lamps, keyless entry, USB port, Bluetooth, steering-wheel audio controls, sun-visor lights, folding mirrors with indicators and a split-folding rear seat. The top model gets rear parking sensors, leatherette-wrapped steering wheel, padded leatherette door trim, LED front running lights and tail lamps, 17-inch alloy wheels, more speakers for the stereo, cruise control, cooled glovebox, auto headlights, sunroof, and finally, ABS and a passenger-side airbag in addition to the driver's one. The Rio is offered in Europe and the States with full front-side-curtain airbags and stability control, and has a 5-star crash-test rating in Europe, but that model is not sold in the GCC.