This is my second Kia Rio, my first one being a 2002 model. I liked that car, but the new model is a huge improvement. In Australia, the Rio is sold in one trim level, as either a sedan or hatch. They are well-equipped here, with aircon, a six-speaker CD player, power steering, power windows, remote central locking and power mirrors. However, the price is the same now as I paid for my first Rio in 2002, although the equipment level is higher, and the new model has much more of a quality feel inside.
The 2006 Rio is comfortable and quiet to drive, with a reasonably smooth ride, and a quiet engine and driveline. The performance is good, but not brilliant, and it holds the road well, even at highway speeds. One thing I have noticed is that there is a slight feeling of body roll around town, so I expected this to increase on the highway, but it seems to flatten out as speed increases, so if anything, there is less body roll at cruising speeds than there is when driving around suburban streets. One of the few things I can fault is that the gearshift is a little clunky. The rear body pillars are also a little thick, which affects visibility.
The interior looks nice and modern, but the hard plastic trim does mark easily. There is a reassuring feeling of rigidity in the body. The remote central locking only works from a distance of about 3 to 4 metres away, but it is still a handy little extra. Our other car is a 2004 Ford Falcon, and it's remote central locking works from across the street.
One thing that is not changed from the old model is the fuel economy, even though the engine is sightly larger in the 2006 model. Overall it is a good car for the money, and with it's low fuel consumption, running costs are impressively low.