Car of the Year 2012 - VetCar

Car of the Year 2012

Posted on: June 27th, 2011 by markshore

Kia Rio Takes Continental Irish Car of the Year Crown
Kia Rio

The Kia Rio has won the Continental Irish Car of the Year 2012, the first ever Korean to succeed. The Rio is a five door supermini and and it scored 181 points, five more than the Ford Focus, and sixteen more than the Peugeot 508.

Position Make /Model Total Points
1 Kia Rio 181
2 Ford Focus 176
3 Peugeot 508 165
The results were as follows:

The Irish Motoring Writers Association judges awarded points on the basis of criteria ranging from innovation and safety to space, comfort, build quality, driving quality and value for money.

Reflecting the diversified nature of today’s car market in Ireland awards were made in five categories, Irish Small Car of the Year- Kia Rio, Compact Family Car of the Year- Ford Focus, Irish Family Car of the Year-Peugeot 508, Irish Executive Car of the Year- Range Rover Evoque and Irish Performance Car of the Year Mercedes-Benz SLK. The Continental Irish Van of the Year 2012 title was awarded to the Volkswagen Crafter. Awards were made in five categories, reflecting the diversified nature of today’s car market in Ireland

Continental Irish Small Car of the Year: Kia Rio

Continental Irish Compact Family Car of the Year: Ford Focus

Continental Irish Family Car of the Year: Peugeot 508

Continental Irish Executive / Luxury Car of the Year: Range Rover Evoque

Continental Irish Performance Car of the Year: Mercedes Benz SLK


For members of the veterinary profession, the Kia range is best known for their popular soft roaders and crossovers. However they have been doing well with family cars as well. In recent times the company has trebled its share of the Irish market to 3 per cent and eleventh overall. Much of this success is on the back of the impressive Cee’d range, the versatile Venga, the latest Sportage as well as the Korean company’s groundbreaking seven-year warranty. Kia together with their sister company Hyundai are now ranked fourth in the world in terms of car sales, behind Toyota VW and GM but ahead of Ford Nissan Honda. Kia Ireland latest arrival is the stylish new Rio, a very competent supermini that, is set to shake up the supermini segment with competition for the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris and Renault Clio.


The all-new, fourth-generation Rio is the latest in Kia design boss Peter Schreyer’s bow tie grille creations, aimed at giving the firm’s cars a familiar look but with an individual identity. It’s less aggressive than the smaller Picanto, and is one of the more distinctive superminis on the road, with a swoopy roofline. From certain angles, there are certain lines that remind one of the latest Seat Ibiza. The Rio is currently only available as a five-door, and a first ever three-door is due soon.

The most noticeable aspect of the Rio’s cabin is how spacious it feels – Kia claims class-leading headroom and legroom in the front. Standard two-way height adjustment on the steering wheel on all models Two adults should fit comfortably in the rear. The model was benchmarked against leading European rivals for quality, and it shows – this is one of the best built Kias yet.


There are two model trims for Rio in Ireland –LX and EX .The entry level LX at €15,295 is powered by a 1.25 petrol engine which is A rated for annual road tax whilst the EX model will be available in both the 1.25 petrol and 1.4 diesel (also A rated ) at €16,495 and € 17,895 respectively.Like all Kia models the new Rio will of course come with Kia’s unbeatable 7 year warranty. Star performer of the range is the 1.1 CRDi model, fitted with the company’s EcoDynamics stop-start package. This is the world’s most efficient non-electric production car, emitting 85g/km and promising 88mpg fuel economy. Wont be available in Ireland in the short term, as there is little fiscal advantage here in a car with emissions less than 120gm/km. In the UK, there is no road tax or congestion charges for cars with less than 100gm/km. While the Irish car market is now 71% diesel, the supermini segment is very much a gasoline choice and Kia anticipate that their petrol option will be the big choice.
On the road, the biggest plus is the refinement – good noise deadening ensures it excels here, and contributes to the general big car feel. Always competent at speed, although the 1.4-litre diesel is not the torquiest of engines and requires quite a lot of revs to get up to pace. Body roll is resisted adequately, but the handling falls a bit short of the class-leading Ford Fiesta.0-60mph time is 12.6 seconds for the petrol and the diesel. The ride is acceptable for the class, although it can feel a little firm on poorly surfaced roads. If you want thrills, look elsewhere, but if you are happy with a safe, predictable supermini which is easy to drive, the Rio will fit the bill. From an economy point of view the Rio excels, with the top-spec petrol and diesel cars claim 51.4mpg and 70.6mpg respectively.


All Rio models feature the same safety equipment, regardless of spec or cost. Electronic stability control (ESC), which stabilises a car when it detects it might go out of control by braking one or more wheels or reducing engine torque, is standard. Twin front, side and curtain airbags are fitted, plus a passenger’s seat side airbag cut-off switch is included in case a child seat is placed in the front. The Rio also features Emergency Stop Signalling, which warns following drivers of impending danger by flashing three times when the car stops sharply. Reliability should be good too – Kia has traditionally fared well in owner satisfaction surveys.

When it comes to practicality, the Rio is on a par with class rivals. The boot offers 288 litres of space, which is just slightly less than a Ford Fiesta, while the sill is usefully low for loading. Split folding rear seats are standard on all models to increase capacity. Access to the rear seats is easy, and there’s plenty of space – a useful benefit of the Rio’s increase in dimensions (it’s 25mm wider than the previous model). Few superminis are as well packaged as the Kia. A decent-sized glovebox and array of in-cabin storage areas complete the package. The Rio will be an attractive choice for urban vets, but will probably too compact for many rural vets who will look elsewhere in the Kia showrooms at the ceed Sportage or Sorento