This year we’ve included some small cars with low towing limits, better suited to very light tourers and trailer tents than conventional caravans. Of these small cars, the Rio is our pick.
Our What Car? road tester was thoroughly impressed after taking the Kia through the lane-change test. According to her notes, “Everything was very controlled – simple, effective and undramatic.”
The lack of drama continued at motorway speeds in a straight line, with surprisingly little steering input needed to keep a straight course, even on a breezy day.
The 1.4-litre diesel engine also puts the little Rio at an advantage compared with some other small tow cars. It accelerated from 30-60mph in 20.3 seconds. Although the diesel engine feels flat at very low revs, its 162lb.ft of torque makes it easier than you might expect to hold speed into a headwind or uphill. It did make heavy going of the hill-start test, though, needing a firm pull on the handbrake to prevent the outfit from rolling backwards. Most drivers found the clutch smelling after attempting the hill in reverse.
In day-to-day driving the Kia Rio isn’t as fun as some super-minis, but it is very well equipped. Like all Kias, the Rio comes with the reassurance of a seven-year warranty.