Value seems less important here when you’re faced with a limited list of potential options at this end of the market.
The Rio S manual currently carries an MSRP of $19,690, and if you’re able to shuffle the cogs yourself, it counts rivals like the Suzuki Baleno GL ($18,490), Suzuki Ignis GL ($19,490 $) or the Fiat 500 Lounge ($19,550).
There’s also the option of the MG3 (from $18,990) or Kia’s much smaller Picanto (from $15,990).
I’m happy to report that the Rio S is one of the best among those options, though. Not only is this car far more modern in terms of platform and design than pretty much anything else on this list, it also packs some excellent standard equipment.
The major element of the wow factor is the best-in-class multimedia system, consisting of an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto wireless connectivity, one of the areas where this car will attract attention to its rivals.
Elsewhere is a predictable and honest list of standard equipment, including basic halogen headlights, 15-inch steel wheels, manual climate control, cloth seat upholstery with a polyurethane steering wheel, a small multi-information display in the dashboard, two USB ports, a six-speaker audio system and, amazingly, steering wheel-mounted controls.
There’s no keyless entry or push-start, and this trim level gives you the chance to have automatic headlights. Unfortunately, the Manual S also lacks the basic luxury of cruise control.
It’s cheap, it lacks a lot of equipment and it shows with an abundance of plastic trim, but somehow this car gets by with almost everything you really, really need . Sure, it’s a bit of a nod to the equipment lists of the early 2000s, but if you’re just looking for a basic car to get the job done, you could do a lot worse than this Kia with its multimedia offering. impressive.