Kia Rio engineered for fun

Observer writer

Friday, May 17, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!

AS automatic and constantly variable transmissions (CVTs) become the norm, there are some who still like the interactivity a manually geared vehicle offers. For those, the 2018 KIA Rio , with its six-speed manual transmission , is a great option.

The Kia Rio sits between the smaller Picanto and the Cerato sedan and manages to look like both, due to its function as a practical family five-door hatchback. Larger than the Picanto, the Rio provides plenty of space, taking on the shape and size of the Cerato until the rear three-quarters. From there, it slopes rapidly to facilitate the hatch for cargo storage. The signature tiger nose grill completes the overall combination and marks it as KIA.

Step inside, and space is nice for all. In front, drivers have no problem finding a good position in the comfortable seats. Rear passengers won't be squeezed in the back. The average family will be more than fine, and four adults can travel long distances without hassle. Controls are also hassle-free, operate with that quality feel and are easy to reach as they're logically laid out across the sweeping curves of the dashboard. The infotainment is on par with class rivals in size. The audio quality is very good, helped by a relatively refined cabin. The base system itself is of KIA's highest specifications making connectivity via Bluetooth and USB a breeze. It's also very fast and stable.

The icing on the cake is the gear lever in the middle of the centre console. Shifting is light, making its use during heavy traffic and longer journeys effortless. The six-speed gearbox blends well with the revvy nature of the 1.4-litre engine under the bonnet. The gearing allows the car to putter along in Corporate Area traffic sipping fuel, and yet, it handles with highway speeds. Keen drivers can also react quickly to potholes in traffic without the delay of an automatic transmission. On the open road, the Rio has the chassis control of other KIAs; soft enough to be comfortable, but composed as to not flop about.

Start driving hard along Jamaica's many narrow twisty B-roads and combination comes together. Being able to shift manually adds a layer of vehicle interaction long lost on other cars in this segment.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon