Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Little Korean a Rapid Improver; and Well Worth the Stretch to a Newer Model

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Little Korean a Rapid Improver; and Well Worth the Stretch to a Newer Model

Article excerpt

Byline: EWAN KENNEDY

HOW MUCH?

Budget on paying from $3000 to $5500 for a 2000 Kia Rio sedan; $5000 to $9000 for a 2005 EX hatch; $6000 to $10,000 for a 2005 Rio EX hatch; $8000 to $13,000 for a 2006 EX-L sedan; $9000 to $14,000 for a 2006 Sports hatch and $11,000 to $16,000 for a 2008 Sports.

CARS from South Korea are no longer a rarity in Australia; rather they have become very much part of the everyday automotive scene.

That's due to rapidly improving build quality, good body styling and outstanding value for money.

Kia Rio is a classic example, though it started off relatively modestly when launched in 2000, then it began to hit the sales race hard with the introduction of the all-new model of August 2005.

This sales' improvement is chiefly due to the 2005 Rio having a more mainstream appearance than the previous models. Not only are these post-2005 models a big advance in the styling department, but also their on-road dynamics and build-quality improved at the same time.

You can buy a Kia Rio as either a four-door sedan or a five-door hatchback. Interestingly, the current models are smaller on the outside than the pre-2005 versions, but provide more interior space thanks to some clever design. The back seat can cope with adults, though it is really aimed at those who haven't reached their teenage years.

The original Rio is nothing special to drive in the way of handling and road feel. It's safe enough, with understeer scrubbing off speed if you hassle it at corners too hard, but will frustrate keen drivers who want a bit more precision in their machine. Good tyres can improve the Rio but can be costly and, sadly, you are unlikely to be able to recoup the cost of the quality tyres when it comes to resale time.

Though the 2005 Rios are a real improvement in their handling and feel, they are still not really aimed at the keen driver. A decent set of tyres can work wonders.

Rios in Australia are powered by a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder engine in the pre-2005 variants. If used no more than moderately, it will sound and feel fine; drive it hard and it gets thrashy. The performance of the engine is generally good in this relatively light car. …

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