The Kia Rio is further evidence of the way that Kia is improving its cars: the cabin is full of nice materials that are put together really well. There’s lots of high-tech features, too, but the touchscreen isn’t the best to use
Older Kia interiors were as tough as brick outhouses, but about as stylish as them, too. The new Rio, however, has finally reversed this trend with a cabin that’s easily a match for the best the VW group can throw at it. The plastics used on most of the surfaces are a soft-touch variety while the fit-and-finish of every component is superb with no squeaks or rattles while on the move.
What’s more, unlike some older Kias, there is evidence of styling in the interior. The faceted, coloured dashboard insert lends a little flair while the climate controls below are operated by two knobs with integrated buttons below – it’s a little touch but one that’s visually much more interesting than the outgoing model.
The cabin is definitely the strongest part of the car
Rio models in ‘2’ trim and above get a touchscreen infotainment system flanked by shortcut buttons. For the most part, the system is fairly easy to use with a fairly logical menu layout, good responsiveness and extensive functionality. ‘3’-trimmed cars bring extra functionality including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay plus a larger seven-inch screen.
It’s not perfect, however. As a touchscreen, it’s flawed compared to units fitted to BMW, Audi and Mazda because you must take your eyes away from the road to see what you’re trying to press – rivals’ control knobs don’t suffer this problem. What’s more, some menus on the Kia are operated by on-screen buttons that are very narrow, making it even harder to hit them while driving.