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Diesel price is right for the Rio.

Byline: By Steve Hughes

Kia has broken the mould by introducing a diesel model that costs exactly the same as its petrol equivalent.

It makes so much sense that you have to believe that other manufacturers will be obliged to follow suit.

It overcomes the main problem with diesels, which is that they invariably cost significantly more than petrol models.

In order to make them a worthwhile proposition by benefiting from the enhanced economy you have to cover huge a mileage, which most motorists never achieve.

It means that they buy a diesel car in preference to a petrol one in order to save money but end up paying more and never recouping it.

In the case of the Kia Rio the 1.5-litre diesel version costs precisely the same as the 1.4-litre petrol model at pounds 7,995.

Considering that the oil burner travels 15 miles further on each gallon to achieve economy of 60mpg the decision about which to buy is a no-brainer that is likely to be reflected in future sales figures.

As you might expect from an inexpensive Korean car with a diesel engine it is not exactly cutting edge stuff but it is not at all bad either.

True, the engine makes its presence heard and felt at tick-over but so do all diesels regardless of cost.

Once on the move it performs well enough thanks to an impressive power output of 109bhp.

With a top speed of 110mph it can cruise effortlessly at 70mph and there is acceleration from rest to 62mph in 11.5 seconds, which makes it quicker than the petrol model.

In its latest guise the Rio may look like Ford's Fiesta but it costs about pounds 1,000 less and has more equipment.

In entry-level GS form it comes with air conditioning, front electric windows, a CD sound system and front air bags.

The LX version costs pounds 1,000 more and gains rear electric windows, alloy wheels, remote central locking and side and curtain air bags.

There is plenty of room for four adults inside and the boot is quite roomy too, offering 270 litres with the seats up and a very generous 1,145 litres with them folded flat to the floor.

On the road the latest Rio is a capable performer, if a touch taut but certainly a world apart from its predecessor.

Overall the car may not excel in any particular areas but is a very competent all-rounder.

Pleasant to look at, to drive and its trump card is the impressive value for money that it represents.

Anyone in search of an inexpensive compact hatchback need look no further than the Rio, especially in diesel guise

Facts and figures

Make: Kia

Model: Rio 1.5 CRDi GS

Price: pounds 7,995

Mechanical: 109bhp, 1,493cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5 speed manual gearbox

Max speed: 110mph

0-62mph: 11.5 seconds

Combined mpg: 60.1

Insurance group: 4

CO2 emissions: 121g/km

BiK rating: 15%

Warranty: 3 years/ unlimited mileage; 3 years paint; 6 years anti-rust
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 9, 2005
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