We drive plenty of luxury cars here at T3, most of them advanced enough to drive themselves, and all contain plenty of technology inside to keep us entertained, but we wanted to see whether that technology is making its way into more affordable vehicles, so recently drove the updated Kia Rio to find out.
The Kia Rio starts at £11K, and the updated model actually looks pretty stylish (squint and it looks a bit like a Mercedes A-Class). There are three trim levels, sensibly named ‘1’, ‘2’, and ‘3’.
Infotainment and interior tech
If you’re reading T3, we doubt you’ll want to go for the ‘1’ trim level. It features Bluetooth, USB, AUX ports for media playback and a small 3.8-inch radio display, but that’s it.
Move up to the ‘2’ trim and you’ll get an upgraded 5.0-inch colour display with an additional 3.5-inch info display between the instrument cluster. This is similar to this digital dashboards you get on Audi, BMW, JLR and VW cars, although, it’s not quite as advanced.
You’ll also get USB charging ports front and rear, as well as a six-speaker system.
It’s only on top-of-the-range ‘3’ models you get a 7-inch touchscreen system with sat-nav. We found the system was clear and easy, but basic in comparison to more pricy rivals.
The key feature here is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which are certainly welcome additions in this B-segment car. It’s just a shame these can’t be spec'd on lower trim models, because you’ll need to fork out around £17k for a '3' Rio.
There’s also a heated steering wheel and heated front seats, which get hot nice and quick.
Safety and driver assistance tech
Credit where credit is due, all trim levels of the Kia Rio come equipped with an impressive range of safety tech, but it’s trim level ‘2’ and ‘3’ where things start to get interesting.
For a start, both of these models have a reversing camera, which is very useful for the bad parkers amongst us. The camera has pretty decent image quality, although it’s not the most high-resolution picture we’ve seen.
The higher trim levels also include Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), which will automatically apply the brakes to avoid an accident (with cars, stationary objects, and pedestrians). There’s also lane departure warning, but whereas more advanced cars will steer to keep you in the lane, the Kia Rio will simply beep.
We were impressed the car features a Gear Shift Indicator as standard across all models (which will help with eco driving) and Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
Do you still have to pay $$$ for plenty of in-car technology? Yes you do, but it’s exciting to see that some of the more advanced stuff, such as Apple CarPlay, digital dashboards, and autonomous braking are starting to filter their way into more affordable cars.
Maybe you have a recommendation for a affordable car with lots of tech? Let us know in the comments!