Moreover, if for the first half of last year, 326 thousand cars were sold on foreign markets, then for half of this already 435 thousand - 41% of all manufactured. The pace is impressive - even in the "deflated" European market, sales grew by 28%, in Russia, where 18 thousand cars were sold, - 50%, in general - by 45%! KIA plans are Napoleonic - in 2006, export a million (!) Cars. So, we need new models. The premiere of this summer is KIA Rio.
MADE FOR EUROPE
KIA opened a European headquarters and even a design center in Frankfurt. By the end of next year, a KIA plant for 300 thousand cars a year will appear in Slovakia. Its construction will cost more than a billion euros. All this is necessary for the company to develop success in the markets of the Old World. And what kind of car does a European need?
According to KIA marketers, firstly, with a bright and catchy design. Secondly, with a sporting and gambling character. Thirdly, practical, comfortable and spacious. Safety and environmental friendliness for granted. Euro IV - please; on EuroNCAP tests, Rio should receive four stars for frontal and side impacts and three for its “respect for pedestrians.” Whether the beginner will achieve such results, we will soon see. In the meantime, proceed to the selection of "Rio".
BETTER - MORE AND BETTER
So, sedan or hatchback? They used to be the same length. Now the hatchback, as expected in Europe, is almost devoid of a rear overhang and is 250 mm shorter than a sedan.
In general, the former Rio was not cramped, but the successor is clearly more spacious. According to the KIA engineers, all significant dimensions of the cabin are at least 2, a maximum of 83 mm larger. It may not sound very convincing, but in fact the difference of even 20 mm is clearly noticeable. They assure that KIA Rio is more spacious than Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta, Opel Corsa and Skoda Fabia - a 185-cm passenger will comfortably fit behind a 190 cm tall driver. The driver's seat with adjustable height and tilt of the pillow is convenient for people of different stature and complexion. The back supports the body well in turns, the pillow does not interfere with the landing, although the tall ones complained: a little short. The steering wheel, unlike many competitors, is regulated only by tilt, but you don’t feel any inconvenience - the driver’s position has been chosen very well. You don’t have to reach either for the switches or for the gear lever. Unless to the cigarette lighter, but today it is customary to fight against bad habits … By the way, next to it is an additional power socket - you never need to connect it.
An excursion into the trunk pleased - under the floor a full-size spare wheel, and even on a cast disk. No tubes with glue, more reliable than an extra wheel, have yet been invented. The list of tire dimensions for the Rio is impressive: from a modest 175 / 70R14 to a spectacular 205 / 45R16. By the way, test cars are shod in "moderate" tires 185 / 65R14 and 195 / 55R15. The difference is easy to feel: on tires with a higher profile it is much more comfortable to roll even along the smooth paths of Parisian suburbs.
The next "stop" under the hood. Three options are possible here: gasoline engines of 1.4 and 1.6 liters (the older one with variable valve timing) and a 1.5-liter turbodiesel with an adjustable turbine. The latter is characterized by very impressive performance: 110 hp and 235 N.m. But enough to walk around and around.
HEARING AND TOUCH
Test drive "KIA Rio" - northeast of Paris, in a province with no name for driving Champagne. We will taste the products of local village workers later. In the meantime, a sip of "Rio": a blue hatchback with a 1.6-liter gasoline engine and a manual gearbox.
When the seat adjustments are few, settle down for long. I adjust the steering wheel and mirrors: I did not have to search for buttons and keys. The richly finished interior in the EX configuration is not only marked by a two-color design, but also by a leather steering wheel braid. You can find fault with it - the inner seam is rude. But not the Bentley!
The clutch pedal with a large stroke, low effort and low information content. The drive, by the way, is hydraulic. Perhaps with such a good to teach driving. But those who learned to change gears 20 years ago, want less movement and "distinct" starting. However, getting used to it is easy - just do not rush. Moreover, the motor pulls well from the bottom and is easily lucky at a speed of 50 km / h in fifth gear. By the way, the transmissions are “short”: at 100 km / h in the fifth - already 3000 rpm. And above 3500 a loud voice awakens in the engine. At high speed, it drowns in a general noise background, but with intensive acceleration, the motor does not make itself felt. But compared with the previous "Rio" is still better: I am ready to believe in the promised 5 dB reduction in internal noise.
Narrow winding paths do not bother. To the best of sharp steering (three turns from lock to lock) pleases with little effort, while providing a good connection with the road. At free roundabouts, we’re a little “bullied”: the speed limited by the rules is clearly higher than the speed at which the circle can be described. But here it is clearly visible: the "playfulness" of "KIA Rio" applies only to regular driving modes. An attempt to pull it into too tight a turn, adding gas, leads to hanging the inner wheel. Traction on wheels, of course, disappears, the car begins to glide evenly outward, quickly losing speed. Safe, but not at all reckless. The stiff short-stroke suspension does not allow the Rio to swing and “think” over each driver’s command, but it allows to realize high coupling qualities of low-profile tires.
The next is a sedan with the same engine. He does not differ much in road behavior, except that he tolerates minor irregularities much more calmly. However, in many respects it is a merit of tires. The hope that the sedan was quieter than the hatchback did not materialize - everything was about the same.
And now - a 1.4-liter “scarce” test drive. At first glance, with him, “Rio” almost lost its momentum. The gear ratios of the box and the main gear are the same, this is confirmed by the readings of the speedometer and tachometer. A successful motor - almost does not lose to the "senior" at low speeds, more noticeably inferior only in acceleration after 4500 rpm. However, to notice this is not so simple, if you do not immediately transfer from one machine to another.
For "sweet" - a turbodiesel. By the way, for an active driver it is much more interesting than gasoline, and its efficiency is a good bonus. The engine fully lives up to expectations and offers acceleration in the range from 1700 to 4000 rpm, which is unusual for small cars. At the same time, even the “cast-iron” right legs of the journalists could not drive the average fuel consumption above 8 l / 100 km. Noise and vibration are suppressed, like a rebellion in Senate Square. Alas, in Russia, KIA Rio with a diesel engine probably will not appear - the price is high.
There is no doubt: the new KIA Rio has a successful future in the European market, and plans to sell 40, 000 cars in Europe in the first year look even modest. The fate of "KIA Rio" in Russia does not seem so rosy - for the "Korean" is clearly a little expensive. The preliminary price of the basic LX with a 1.4 liter engine and manual transmission is close to $ 14, 000. They do not plan to assemble a car at Russian enterprises, adapt the suspension, by the way, either. The fact, however, is that the new KIA Rio is a big improvement over what it winds up kilometers in the editorial park. By the way, the assembly of the previous model in Kaliningrad has already been discontinued …
“FOR THE BEST CLASS INDICATORS!”
In an inexpensive car, the cost of the engine is weighty, because in the European B-class few allow themselves to introduce new engines. KIA Rio has acquired two thoroughly modernized gasoline engines.
A 1.4-liter unit with a capacity of 97 liters. with. has nothing to do with the motors of the old Rio. Rather, he is a relative of the 16-valve Hyundai Accent unit with a reduced piston stroke. The new recirculation system allowed him to fit into Euro IV standards and at the same time, according to KIA Motors, be 17.5% more powerful than classmates.