It might look like a town runabout with a pint-sized engine, but don’t be fooled: the Kia Rio is a serious tow car.
The 1.5-litre diesel punches well above its weight, with a gutsy 173lb ft of pulling power. With a caravan behind it, the Rio accelerated from 30-60mph in 17.9 seconds. That’s more than eight seconds quicker than the Subaru Impreza, for example.
The Kia is superb value, too. With a list price of just over £10,000, it’s £1500 cheaper than any other car on test. Buyers won’t go short of toys, either, with a CD player, alloy wheels, electric windows and air-con as standard.
It’s not perfect, of course. Resale values are modest, and the softly sprung suspension means the Rio doesn’t feel as secure at speed as the Subaru Legacy or VW Golf. The boot is a little on the small side for a family planning a week away, while the low kerbweight and modest towball limit make the Kia best suited to lightweight vans.