The Rio Pulse enters the line-up between the mid-grade 2 and high-grade 3 versions and costs £14,595 on the road. The price includes either Clear White or Midnight Black paint as standard, this is an extra-charge on other models in the Rio range, but applied for no additional cost on Pulse.
The Rio Pulse is easily distinguished by a red roof and red front vents, mirror caps and side skirt trims. A similar theme is extended to the interior, where there is black and red faux leather upholstery and red faux leather door inserts. The fascia trim is finished in red metallic paint.
There are 17-inch alloy wheels with 205/45 R17 tyres, a black radiator grille with chrome surround and privacy glass on the rear side windows and tailgate. Inside, the sporty leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearshifter are complemented by stainless steel pedals.
In-car entertainment and connectivity is taken care of by a six-speaker audio system and a five-inch colour touchscreen linked to a DAB radio with RDS messaging. There is Bluetooth with music streaming, front and rear USB charging points, a reversing camera with dynamic guidelines, rear parking sensors and a 3.5-inch cluster display.
Active safety provisions include Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Cornering Brake Control, Straight-Line Stability and Hill Start Assist.
The Rio Pulse is powered by the four-cylinder, 16-valve, 1.25-litre version of Kia's Gamma multi-point injection petrol engine, developing 83bhp at 6,000rpm and 121Nm of torque peaking at 4,000rpm. It features continuously variable valve timing (CVVT) to give a good combination of mid-range driveability and top-end performance, and drives through a five-speed manual gearbox.
ISG, Kia's engine stop/start system, is standard. This shuts down the engine when the gearbox is in neutral with the driver's foot off the clutch, and restarts it as soon as the clutch is pressed. As a result no fuel is used and no emissions are created when the car is stationary in traffic. The Rio Pulse is capable of up to 58.8mpg (combined), with CO2 emissions 109g/km. It accelerates from 0-60mph in 12.5 seconds and has a top speed of 107mph.