New Rio arrives in Ireland

The fourth generation Kia Rio has arrived in Irish dealer showrooms at a starting price of €15,950, writes Brian Byrne.

The car arrives with an 85hp 1.2 petrol engine and two 1.4 diesel options of 77/90hp outputs. A 1.0 turbocharged petrol will arrive later in the year.

Rio is the second-biggest selling model for the brand globally, though in Ireland it holds a lower position in a very competitive B-segment market.

The car is longer, lower and wider than its predecessor — the Irish Car of the Year winner in 2011 — with a longer wheelbase to provide better ride and more interior room. It also has a more muscular profile, with a longer bonnet and front overhang.

A new interior design reflects recent styling in the new Sportage, and the hybrid Niro, emphasising the width of the cabin and angling the controls sections towards the driver.

There’s more interior storage, an increased luggage capacity in the boot area, and a similar double boot floor as in the outgoing version which provides space to concealed items. A spare wheel is an option.

The volume seller is expected to be the EX at €18,150, which comes with rear sensor parking assist, automatic cruise control, and manual air-conditioning in its specification.

An EX ADAS grade at €19,450, includes safety systems such as autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning as well as a rear-view camera. Rio is the first car in the class to offer radar pedestrian detection with its AEB system.

There’s a top of the line Platinum grade at €20,450, which comes with satnav and Android Auto connectivity.

The diesel engined model starts with the LX at €17,750 and the EXE at €19,950, respectively with the smaller and larger output units.

Kia Ireland’s MD James Brooks says the company is targeting the new Rio at ‘younger and female’ customers to gain market share.

“It’s a segment in Ireland where the gender split is 50:50, so we feel there’s an opportunity here,” he added, noting that it’s more difficult for a smaller company to make inroads in the segment because of the long-established ‘hero’ models such as VW Polo and Nissan Micra.

The petrol offerings are important in the B segment, he said, because it is one where buyers are reluctant to pay the diesel cost premium. “In our outgoing model, 60pc of buyers chose petrol, and we would see the shift more towards petrol. Especially when diesel and petrol fuel prices are harmonised from a tax point, as seems to be on the cards.”

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