Kia Closes 2020 with a Rio Facelift

If you thought that Kia was done with the Rio, think again. I recently attended the launch of the revamped loved car in Cape Town which included a test drive all the way to Riebeek Kasteel where, as a new motoring enthusiast, I got to ask a lot of questions.

*Sidenote: I always wondered what the LS, LX, EX and TEC meant on Kia cars until I was told that these are terms used as a way to differentiate the mechanics and level of tech a Kia model is at. *

What changed:

Unlike the Rio 2019, the updated model got a meaner grill that gives it an elegant look which is a win for me. Kia moved away from the traditional Kia grill to one that resembles the Seltos. It also got a thinner bumper details which gives it a sporty look. The headlights and fog lights made an upgraded comeback. If you wonder what tickles my fancy in cars, the answer will always be: EXTERIOR. Kia has it right, especially considering they have a select range of colours to choose from.


The Rio comes with a standard 8-inch infotainment screen suitable for both Android and Apple Car Play. With the LS coming with 15-inch alloy wheels and 17 – inch alloy wheels on the EX. The standard specs include air-conditioning, illuminated vanity mirrors, 4.2 – inch supervision cluster and hill start Assist Control.

What’s in the engine?

The LS 1.25 litre engine charges a power of 61kW @6000 rpm and 120 Nm torque while the 1.4 litre goes up to 73 kW @6300 rpm and 135 Nm torque and power applied through a 5 -speed manual transmission, a 6 -speed manual or a 6 -speed automatic transmission. Let me tell you something, the engine is midsize which means you still get a bit of power and fun.

My thoughts

As stated earlier, I am head over heels with the exterior and the new cool colours added to the range: sporty blue and perennial grey with urban green my ultimate fav. The girlie is a bit of a drag though and I have been spoiled a lot with engines that are powerful than the Rio because I had to get to the 6th gear to have peace (the engine on the manual transmission is a bit loud and that vexes me). Would I buy it? Sure, I love being on the road and having fuel efficient car means everything to me and Kia’s unlimited kilometer warranty over 5 years is enticing.

P.S: I still struggle with Kia’s infotainment setup. I find it difficult to set up the navigation so that is a challenge that needs to be achieved on the next test drive.


Price point*

KIA Rio 1.2 LS Manual R280 995

KIA Rio 1.4 LS Manual R291 995

KIA Rio 1.4 LS Auto R308 995

KIA Rio 1.4 LX Manual R306 995

KIA Rio 1.4 LX Auto R323 995

KIA Rio 1.4 EX Manual R319 995

KIA Rio 1.4 EX Auto R336 995

KIA Rio 1.4 TEC Manual R344 995

KIA Rio 1.4 TEC Auto R361 995



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