The outgoing Rio suffered for its lack of a decent downsized motor, and in the ways likely to matter to most buyers, this new model prospers where previous incumbents floundered.
Principally this is because it fulfils the modern three-pot brief of being relatively quiet, tractable from low revs and parsimonious enough to compete with a small diesel’s running costs.
With modest expectations applied, being ‘fast enough’ is much the same as being ‘good enough’.
Two-up, the Rio reached 60mph from rest in 10.0sec – almost a second and a half quicker than its 1.4-litre-engined predecessor we figured five years ago and marginally quicker than even the 1.5-litre Mazda 2 tested.
It helps that only one gear change is required to get there, with the second of this Rio’s five very long ratios being good for the national speed limit.
Third gear is sufficiently drawn out to hit 100mph within the one-mile mark of Millbrook’s straight. Getting there, it must be said, is a mite less than compelling: credibly industrious the three-pot may well be, but the upper reaches of its delivery are muted compared with the thrummy excitableness of Ford’s 1.0-litre Ecoboost triple.