Abed – an enthusiastic Kia product specialist who previously worked under Freeway Toyota and has now been at Kia Goldreef for four years – seems thrilled to be able to introduce me to the Kia Rio, and speaks passionately about the amazing capabilities which the vehicle has. I am inflamed by his excitement and happily jump at the chance to test drive this sassy hatchback.

With the success of the previous Kia Rio firmly in mind, I am curious to see what has changed in the new model. I note the gorgeous new sleek style of the Rio, with its Tiger Nose grill and smooth aerodynamic curves – it certainly looks great with a more purposeful, determined stance, and as I am told by the Kia Goldreef team, with its new longer wheelbase, the Rio promises to hold not only more features, but more luxurious space inside.

I am not disappointed by the beautiful interior; the Rio is well laid-out with a cockpit that seems designed to give the driver all control whilst minimising distractions. A multi-function steering wheel telescopes to my preferred position and I slip into the comfortable driver seat. I love the purposefully straight-forward lay-out of the dashboard that provides all controls within easy reach. Awesome features such as air-con, auto defogger that detects fog on certain models, rear-mounted USB ports as well as fully-flat folding rear seats are brought to my attention, and I can’t help but feel this is not only a practical car, but a modern, funky and comfortable vehicle too.

My sentiments so far seem to be echoed by leading industry professionals who awarded the Kia Rio the prestigious Red Dot Award for 2017, which Abed informs me relates to the exceptional vehicle design (along with two other Kia vehicles, namely the Optima Sportswagon and the hybrid crossover Niro). With the intelligent active-safety technology built into the vehicle, as well as significant passive-safety features, the Rio is impressive as a family vehicle safely carrying your most precious cargo. This is in line with what Abed tells me the policy is at Kia Goldreef, where family is prioritised, and every client that steps through the door is treated as such.

On the road, the Rio is a fabulous drive: smooth and nimble, with agile responses and a lovely, solid feel around the corners. With a naturally aspirated engine, the Rio responds with predictable and familiar power when needed, which provides me with a great sense of security as I feel that I know exactly what the vehicle is capable of. I feel in full control with this smooth power delivery as it responds immediately to my urging. With the added benefits of a better sounding engine and no turbo lag, this engine design is spot on for this vehicle.

Abed continues to tell me the great price range on offer for the Kia Rio, telling me with great zeal that the vehicle’s capabilities are further enhanced with the additional options of park distance control, custom mags and reverse camera to name but a few, and with the 5-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, Kia will look after you, and your vehicle, ensuring you get the best from this dynamic car.

For further information or more details on the Kia product range, Abed can be contacted on the following:

[email protected] or 011 226 9999. Kia Goldreef’s website


By Desh Pillay Bechan