Kia Motors seems to have permanent status as one of the world’s fastest-growing car-makers, and no doubt the launch of the new Kia Rio will only help the company to further expand and grow.

Having smashed through the two-million-units-a-year barrier in 2010, the firm’s sales continue to climb quicker and quicker with the Cee'd, Picanto, Sportage and the Korean firm's first ever hybrid - the Niro, all reinforcing Kia's position.

Seven years ago Kia was struggling to grow significantly in Europe, something that this generation Kia Rio has been designed to exploit.

Unlike its more one-dimensional forebears, this new five-door supermini (also available in three-door form) offers appealing style and tangible quality as well as typical Kia brand value – or so its maker claims. We’ll be explaining just how much substance there is behind those claims over soon enough.

Kia can already claim a real coup for the Rio. Fitted with a 1.1-litre, three-cylinder engine, the 74bhp entry-level turbodiesel Rio is among the most economical combustion-engined series production cars in the world, with 88.3mpg on the combined cycle – again, so they say.

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The rest of the engine range is made up of less headline-grabbing powerplants, ranging upwards from an entry-level 1.25-litre, 84bhp petrol, through to a 1.4-litre, 107bhp petrol, to include a 1.4-litre, 89bhp CRDI turbodiesel.

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First drives

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