Cheaper, despite an almost identical standard equipment list to the Kia, including 16-inch alloys with a full-size spare, foglights, leather-wrapped wheel and gear knob, USB input, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, six airbags and stability control. Cruise control is a notable omission.
Classy-looking cabin features a sleek finish and is more modern than the Rio. Storage is good up front but back-seat passengers miss out on door pockets and there’s only one mesh map holder. Roomy enough for adults in the back and the boot is bigger than some cars the next size up.
Gets a less-powerful four-cylinder engine that is thirstier than the Rio’s but is still commendably frugal and perky enough. Unlike the Kia, both auto and manual transmissions miss out on extra ratios, meaning it revs at close to 3500rpm on the highway — and can be noisy as a result.
How It Drives
Better to drive than some of Hyundai’s previous efforts — the ride is decent but is more easily upset by bigger bumps than the Rio. Electronic steering is uninvolving and can also feel too twitchy through bumpy corners.
Costs less and will hold its value better, according to used-car pricing analysts, Glass’s Guide. Predictions after three years: $10,000; five years: $7050.
Outclassed in this sibling-brand shootout but by no means a loser. A well-equipped and good-value city runabout.
Kia Rio Si
Costs $500 more but gets a more-advanced engine and transmission. Same equipment list but adds cruise control and, as with the Hyundai, comes with a five-year unlimited-kilometre warranty. Front-end design isn’t as cohesive but you get more kilowatts for your money.
Interior design is simple but effective. More storage pockets in the back, including handy bottle caddies in the doors and a few useful dash storage slots. Roomier in the rear, with better bolstering for back-seat passengers. The boot space (288 litres) can’t match the Hyundai’s (370 litres).
The mid-spec Si is powered by a more-advanced direct-injection fourcylinder engine that is more powerful and refined, if a little buzzy higher in the rev range. Comes with a six-speed manual, which helps it achieve an excellent claimed fuel figure of 5.6L/100km (Accent 6.0L/100km).
How It Drives
Feels solid on the road and corners with more confidence than the Accent. Some road and suspension noise and the steering can feel numb at higher speeds. It holds the road well and the suspension tuned for Australian conditions helps it cope on poor road surfaces.
Despite the Rio having a higher purchase price, Glass’s Guide predicts a lower resale value after three years ($9500) and five years ($6250).
Kia again trumps its sister manufacturer with a better product for a comparable price. The new Rio is a city car well worth considering.