If you’re after a supermini that majors on space, comfort and value for money, then the Kia Rio could well be the car for you. You can have it with either three or five doors and it's equally stylish with either. The peace of mind afforded by Kia's standard seven-year/100,000-mile warranty adds an extra layer of temptation, too.
It is, however, competing in a very talented class. The Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia and Vauxhall Corsa are all impressive cars and the Rio doesn’t in any way disgrace itself against them.
You have a choice of a variety of small petrol and diesel engines. If ultimate economy is your number-one concern, then you’ve got to go for 1.1-litre CRDi diesel. It only comes in very basic ‘1’ trim, which means very few creature comforts. It's also noisy and slow, so while fuel economy of nearly 86mpg is impressive, we reckon it's worthwhile going for the more powerful (and smoother) 1.4-litre diesel. This will still return 74mpg.
It's a similar story if you’d prefer a petrol. The smallest – a 1.25-litre four-cylinder – is the most economical, but again it's slow and noisy, making the 1.4-litre more appealing. It's here that Kia is really lacking a small, turbocharged petrol engine like Ford's EcoBoost, which provides a fantastic combination of performance and economy.
Whether you go for the three or five-door version of the Rio, you’ll find there's plenty of space inside, while the boot's a decent size and shape, too.
Despite the car's reasonably firm suspension, it's never uncomfortable and body lean is well controlled in corners. The steering does, however, lack the accuracy of the best in the class.
You also get a decent amount of standard equipment, with DAB digital radio, electric front windows and Bluetooth phone connectivity standard across the range. Our favourite, however, is the Rio 2, which adds luxuries like 16-inch alloys and air-conditioning.
Safety won’t be a concern, as the Kia comes with plenty of kit, including anti-lock brakes, stability control, traction control and several airbags. This was validated by Euro NCAP's decision to award the car the full five stars.
Find out what we think is the best small car by watching our video below.