2017 Kia Rio SLi Review: Powerful New Features But Driving Experience Is Weak?

May 02, 2017 10:40 AM EDT | Gerone Trish

The new 2017 Kia Rio SLi offers powerful new features for a small car. However, it seems that there is some weakness in terms of driving experience.

The latest features of the new Rio SLi include climate control air conditioning with auto defog, and soft-touch door armrests. It also comes with electric tilt/slide sunroof, solar glass on the windscreen and front doors, and automatic wipers.

On the inside, the new Rio is wrapped with hard plastics on the dash and doors. This design is similar with the current Rio Si.

The premium leather-look seats provide much comfort and support. It also has a unique trim.

Moreover, the new small car offers child-friendly seats too. It has fitted ISOFIX child seat anchor points for the two outer rear seats.

On the driver's seat, a leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel seems to make a pleasant surprise. The steering wheel offers reach and rake adjustment. In addition, an upgraded TFT display between the dials can be spotted on the driver's instrument cluster.

With regard to the infotainment system, the new small car boasts of its intelligent 7.0-inch screen on the center. It features native satellite navigation and supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The 2017 Kia Rio SLi stands out from the other Rio ranges because of its new arrow-shaped LED taillights, chrome highlights on the window belt line, 16-inch alloy wheels, and alloy sports pedals. These new features made the new Rio more sophisticated and sportier.

In terms of driving, the 2017 Kia Rio SLi performs well at city speeds. It has a well-sorted locally-tuned suspension which smoothens out the lumps and bumps with ease.

The steering wheel also offers much ease. The lightness of the new Rio's steering help navigate easily on city streets and narrow carparks. Moreover, the compact size, rear-view camera, and rear parking sensors of the new Rio makes parking easier.

On the downside, the 2017 Kia Rio SLi does not seem fit for outside the city driving. Driver can feel a struggle on the engine as the car tries to reach maximum speed.

At high speeds, the tires make noise over rougher surfaces of country highways. The engine spins at over 2500 rpm at 100km/hr.

Furthermore, the new 2017 Kia Rio SLi's four-speed shifter does not seem confident with which gear to utilize when escaping a sip lane or roundabout. It seems that rolling acceleration is the small car's weakness in terms of driving experience.

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