Kia’s fourth-generation Rio has hit Australian roads with enhanced ride and handling, improved safety and full connectivity for Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™.

The Rio has long been a favourite of Australian Kia buyers and is the Korean manufacturer’s global best-selling model, with annual sales approaching 500,000, accounting for 16 per cent of Kia’s annual sales.

“While the days of Kia being the Rio car company in Australia are long past, the model remains a core plank in the growth and success of the brand in our market,” Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer, Damien Meredith said.

“With the improvements and the additional technology and connectivity in the all-new Rio we expect it to remain one of the primary drivers of increased sales and brand awareness in the Australian market.”

Meredith said that the advancements in the new Rio, coupled with Kia Motors Australia’s industry-leading customer care package of 7 year Factory Warranty, 7 year Capped Price Servicing and 7 Year Roadside Assist, makes a compelling purchase consideration case.

Now entering its fourth generation, the new Rio will offer B-segment buyers a peace-of-mind package, with an attractive new design, high practicality and convenience, extensive safety technology, new connectivity features and more engaging ride and handling.

Designed and engineered to meet the needs and desires of a wider range of buyers, the new Rio will play an increasingly important role in the Kia model line-up. The new Rio is manufactured at Kia’s Sohari facility in Korea.

Exterior design: Defined by straight lines and smooth surfaces

The Rio’s progressive new exterior and interior design was led by Kia’s design centres in Germany and California, in close collaboration with the company’s domestic design base in Namyang, Korea, all under the guiding hand of design boss Peter Schreyer.

The appearance of the new Rio is defined by straight lines and smooth surfacing, giving the car a distinctive new look and more mature character than its predecessor.

At the front, the Rio wears the latest evolution of Kia’s ‘tiger-nose’ grille, now thinner in height and wider across the front of the car, with a gloss black grille cover on the Si and SLi. The grille is integrated with the newly-designed bi-function headlamps, more sculpted for a sharper look, and featuring a new U-shaped LED (Si & SLi only) daytime running light signature. The Rio’s front fog lamp surrounds are moved outwards and upwards in the front bumper compared to their position on the third-generation model, adding greater visual width to the front of the car for a stronger overall look. The longer bonnet features bracket-shaped creases that run down from the base of the A-pillars to the grille and headlamps.

In profile, the fourth-generation Rio’s lengthened, more balanced stance is achieved with a long bonnet and longer front overhang, a 10mm longer wheelbase (up to 2580mm), a thinner, more upright C-pillar, and a shorter rear overhang. Overall, the new car is 15mm longer than its predecessor, at 4065mm in length, and 5mm lower (now 1450mm tall). Straight, clearly-defined lines run down the full length of the car’s shoulder and along its doors, further stretching the appearance of the car for a more confident look.

The rear section of the Rio is now more upright, with a near-vertical rear windscreen and a shorter overhang. The straight line that runs from the grille, through the headlamps and along the top of the doors, continues around the back of the car, paired with thinner, more sculpted rear lamps, which now feature a new arrow-shaped LED light signature (SLi only). Like the wider-looking ‘face’ of the car, the rear design of the new Rio gives the car a stronger overall appearance.

The all new Rio will be available in seven colours in Australia: Clear White, Silky Silver, Platinum Graphite, Aurora Black Pearl, Signal Red, Mighty Yellow and Smoke Blue. Premium paint (all colours except Clear White) will be $520.

Interior design: Modern cabin with new floating HMI

The all new Kia Rio features a modern new cabin, with more sculptural forms and a more ergonomic layout than its predecessor. The interior has also been designed to accommodate the Rio’s new range of technologies.

Like the exterior, straight lines running the width of the dashboard characterise the shape of the interior, giving the cabin a wider appearance and increasing the sense of space for occupants. As well as long, lateral lines that govern the shape of the dashboard, horizontal vents further add to the visual width of the cabin, replacing the vertical vents of the third-generation model. Gloss black trim lines the central section of the dashboard on the Si and SLi.

The dashboard itself is now angled towards the driver, a layout which provides the car with a sportier, more driver-focused design and a more premium character. At the centre of the dashboard is a ‘floating’ 7-inch touchscreen, standard on all trims with a high-resolution display. Below, the driver-oriented centre console features fewer buttons, with more ergonomic, concave switches and rotator dials below to control the heating and ventilation.

The Rio offers three grades of interior trim in a black one-tone treatment. For S buyers the seats are trimmed in woven Tricot cloth while Si buyers will get a standout embossed Tricot cloth treatment. At the top of the range the SLi offers a premium treatment with artificial leather trim.

New technologies further boost the appeal of the Rio’s cabin. Designed to improve comfort and convenience for owners, the new model is available with keyless entry (all trims), rain-sensing windscreen wipers (SLi), and automatic headlamps. The new model is also available with Cruise Control (Si and SLi), rear parking sensors and rear view camera (all grades).

Practicality: Greater cabin and cargo space, with improved visibility

The Rio has one of the most spacious cabins and one of the highest cargo capacities (325 litres VDA) of any car in its class when it goes on sale, with practicality a key focus for the Rio’s development and engineering teams.

The Rio’s 10mm-longer wheelbase and 15mm-longer body contribute to larger cabin and cargo dimensions. Leg room grows to 1120 mm in the front and 770mm in the rear, while the new model offers more shoulder room than most other cars in its class – 1375mm in the front and 1355mm in the rear. Despite the new Rio being 5mm lower in height than the outgoing model, front and rear headroom (1021mm and 966mm respectively) are among the best in the B-segment.

These improvements to space in the cabin have been achieved with a series of changes to the Rio’s packaging. These include re-profiled door trims, the adoption of new headlining materials, and changes to the shape of the dashboard, as well as more significant changes to the bodyshell of the Rio – such as the longer wheelbase.

Furthermore, thinner C-pillars – reduced in width by 87mm – and relocated door mirrors (moved up to the base of the A-pillar) help minimise the size of the driver’s blind spots and improve all-round visibility. A lower window line around the cabin and new quarterlights at the tail end of the rear doors also give the driver and passengers a better view out.

The Rio’s cabin offers more storage space than before. At the base of the centre console is an open double tray to store mobile devices and other small items, and the overhead console includes an area to store sunglasses.

The glove compartment is also a single-box shape. The new Rio has bottle holders in every door (to accommodate 1.5-litre bottles in the front and 0.5-litre bottles in the rear of the car) and two larger cupholders in the front. The doors also feature closed-bottom storage holes in the door handles, useful for small items such as a phone or coins.

Luggage capacity has increased by 37 litres to 325 litres (VDA; +13 per cent), among the best in class. This extra space has been achieved despite the Rio’s rear overhang being shortened by 15mm to 655mm, a key element of the car’s new design. The Rio is fitted as standard with 60:40 split-folding rear seats and a space-saver tyre under the boot floor as a weight-saving option.

The fuel tank, which is located under the rear bench, is now 45 litres in size, two litres larger than the earlier model.

Powertrains: Proven efficient 4-cylinder 1.4-litre MPI

The new Kia Rio will be powered by a single 1.4-litre MPI engine with 74kW and 133Nm coupled with a proven 4-speed automatic in the Si and SLi grades and either the automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission in the S model. The DOHC 16-valve D-CVVT engine produces peak power at 6000rpm and maximum torque at 4000rpm. All models drive through the front wheels.

Safety: Wide range of active and passive safety features

The new Rio will be among the safest cars in its class when it goes on sale, available with a comprehensive package of active and passive safety features.

Across the model range, the Rio will come with Anti-lock Braking, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Emergency Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control with Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Management System, Hill Start Assist, rear view camera with dynamic parking guidelines, reverse parking sensors, three child restraint anchor points (two ISOFIX) and five three-point seatbelts.

For Si and SLi there are the additional features of LED daytime running lights and projector front fog lights. At the top of the specification list the SLi gains parking sensor dash display, and electrochromatic rear view mirror (auto dimming).

The new Rio is built on high-strength steel body and features a wide array of passive safety equipment including six airbags, front seatbelt pre-tensioners with load limiters, side door impact beams front and rear, child locks and impact sensing door unlocking.

The bodyshell of the new Rio is made up of a significant proportion of Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS). The extensive use of AHSS in the body of the Rio is part of a wider effort by Kia to achieve a 5 per cent reduction in the average weight of new car bodies by 2020 when compared to 2014, while enabling greater safety and security. Fifty one per cent of the new Rio’s body is made out of strong, light AHSS, compared to 33 per cent in the third-generation model.

The higher application of AHSS has strengthened the passenger cabin ‘cell’ for greater occupant safety and more effective distribution of impact forces. The stronger steel has been used to reinforce the A- and B-pillars, as well as side sills, roof structure, engine bay and floor pan.

Driving: More engaging and stable handling with a comfortable ride

As well as being incredibly safe to drive, the new Rio seeks to build on the level of driver engagement offered by the third-generation model.

Kia’s chassis development teams have sought to introduce greater driving appeal, with more agile and immediate handling, while improving ride comfort. The Rio sits on fully-independent MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam rear axle.

The development of a stiffer bodyshell gave R&D teams the freedom to develop a more compliant suspension system. The new Rio benefits from a more advanced spring and damper set-up than the outgoing model, improving the car’s compliance and comfort at all speeds, while maintaining the car’s more enjoyable, engaging handling characteristics.

For Australia, the Rio benefits from the more advanced RS damper valves which has allowed the Australian ride and handling team to tune the balance of driver enjoyment and ride comfort to an even higher degree.

Compared to the third-generation model, the modifications to the Rio’s chassis include: more rigid front suspension struts and cross member and a raised rear torsion beam for high-speed stability; the adoption of new vertical rear shock absorbers and front shock absorbers with pre-loaded linear valve technology, both resulting in more linear handling and suspension response over broken road surfaces; and a repositioned power steering gearbox, to enable greater ‘on-centre’ feel through the steering wheel. The changes to the chassis are designed to endow the Rio with more immediate handling responsiveness and improve the level of confidence that the driver has when behind the wheel.

Connectivity: full Android™ and Apple smartphone integration

At the centre of the dashboard is the new infotainment system, housing Kia’s latest HMI (human-machine interface). The new Rio is available with a ‘floating’ 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment linked to a six-speaker sound system for all models while the Si and SLi grades add a satellite navigation system. The newly developed satellite navigation unit includes SUNA™ live traffic updates and DAB.

The Rio’s Android Auto™ connectivity system is designed to work with Android™ phones running 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher. Available from launch, Android Auto™ connects to the user’s phone and lets them access smartphone apps and functions through the in-car infotainment system, such as voice-guided Google Maps™ mapping service, hands-free calls and texts and voice recognition. Android Auto™ also allows users to stream music from Google Play™ and other services.

Apple CarPlay™, for iPhone® 5 or newer, will enable Siri to control the phone’s various functions and apps, including navigation via Apple Maps, calls and text dictation. Apple CarPlay™ also supports other audio apps that the user may have downloaded to their iPhone® – such as music streaming or audiobook services.

The Kia Rio will be the first car in the B-segment to be equipped with USB ports in both the front and rear of the cabin, this enables other passengers to charge their mobile devices while still enjoying the functionality of the car connectivity systems.

Rio Pricing (RRP):

  • S manual: $16,990
  • S auto: $19,090
  • Si auto: $21,490
  • SLi auto: $22,990

Apple CarPlay™ Connectivity requires compatible iOS device. Apple, Apple CarPlay™, iPhone®, Siri, and Apple Maps are trademarks of Apple Inc.
Android Auto™ connectivity requires compatible Android™ device. Android Auto and Android are registered trademarks of Google Inc.

The new Kia Rio will make its world debut on September 29 in Paris, at the 2016 Mondial de l’Automobile. The Rio is the Korean manufacturer’s global best-selling model, with more than 473,000 sold around the world in 2015, accounting for 16 per cent of Kia’s annual sales. Now entering its fourth generation, the new Rio will offer B-segment buyers a compelling package, with an attractive new design, high practicality and convenience, class-first safety technology, new connectivity features and more engaging ride and handling.

Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer for Kia Motors Europe, commented: “The Rio is an important car for Kia, as our best-selling model worldwide. The B-segment is one of the most hotly-contested areas of the new car market, and the third-generation Rio helped introduce more people to the Kia brand than ever before.

“As a gateway to the brand, the Rio has typically offered an attractive design, low running costs and a practical nature. It’s for these reasons that the current model has sold in record numbers around the world. The new model will build on these key strengths, with higher desirability, a more enjoyable drive and the most advanced safety features in its class.”

Designed and engineered to meet the needs and desires of a wider range of buyers, the new Rio will play an increasingly important role in the Kia model line-up.

The B-segment is the largest market segment in the European new car market, and Kia anticipates that the new Rio will attract over 100,000 buyers in its first full year on-sale. This will place the Rio alongside Kia’s best-selling models in Europe, the Sportage and cee’d. The new Rio will be manufactured at Kia’s Sohari manufacturing facility in Korea, and will go on sale globally during the first quarter of 2017.

Exterior design

The Rio’s progressive new exterior and interior design was led by Kia’s design centres in Germany and California, in close collaboration with the company’s domestic design base in Namyang, Korea. The appearance of the new Rio is defined by straight lines and smooth surfacing, giving the car a distinctive new look and more mature character than its predecessor.

At the front, the Rio wears the latest evolution of Kia’s ‘tiger-nose’ grille, now thinner in height and wider across the front of the car, with a gloss black grille cover. The grille is integrated with the newly-designed bi-function headlamps, more sculpted for a sharper look, and featuring a new U-shaped LED light signature. The Rio’s front fog lamp surrounds are moved outwards and upwards in the front bumper compared to their position on the third-generation model, adding greater visual width to the front of the car for a stronger overall look. The longer bonnet features bracket-shaped creases that run down from the base of the A-pillars to the grille and headlamps.

In profile, the fourth-generation Rio’s lengthened, more balanced stance is achieved with a long bonnet and longer front overhang, a 10 mm longer wheelbase (up to 2,580 mm), a thinner, more upright C-pillar, and a shorter rear overhang. Overall, the new car is 15 mm longer than its predecessor, at 4,065 mm in length, and 5 mm lower (now 1,450 mm tall). Straight, clearly-defined lines run down the full length of the car’s shoulder and along its doors, further stretching the appearance of the car for a more confident look.

The rear section of the Rio is now more upright, with a near-vertical rear windscreen and a shorter overhang. The straight line that runs from the grille, through the headlamps and along the top of the doors, continues around the back of the car, paired with thinner, more sculpted rear lamps, which now feature a new arrow-shaped LED light signature. Like the wider-looking ‘face’ of the car, the rear design of the new Rio gives the car a stronger overall appearance.

When the new Rio goes on sale across Europe, it will be available in a choice of eight exterior colours and a choice of three aluminium alloy wheel designs, ranging from 15-inch to 17-inch in diameter. The Rio will be sold as a five door model in Europe.

Interior design

The new Kia Rio features a modern new cabin, with more sculptural forms and a more ergonomic layout than its predecessor. The interior has also been designed to accommodate the Rio’s new range of technologies.

Like the exterior, straight lines running the width of the dashboard characterize the shape of the interior, giving the cabin a wider appearance and increasing the sense of space for occupants. As well as long, lateral lines that govern the shape of the dashboard, horizontal vents further add to the visual width of the cabin, replacing the vertical vents of the third-generation model. Gloss black trim lines the central section of the dashboard.

The dashboard itself is now angled towards the driver, a layout which provides the car with a sportier, more driver-focused design and a more premium character. At the centre of the dashboard is a new infotainment system, a ‘floating’ HMI (human-machine interface) available with a 5.0-inch high-resolution touchscreen. Below, the driver-oriented centre console features fewer buttons, with more ergonomic, concave switches and rotator dials below to control the heating and ventilation.

The new Rio is available with a choice of black or grey cloth seat upholstery, or with black or grey artificial leather. A ‘Red Pack’ for the Rio gives buyers black with red artificial leather-trimmed seats. New technologies further boost the appeal of the Rio’s cabin. Designed to improve comfort and convenience for owners, the new model is available with keyless entry and ignition, heated seats and steering wheel, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, and automatic headlamps. The new model is also available with Automatic Cruise Control, with a speed limiter, and Rear Park Assist with a rear view camera (see ‘Safety’ for more information on the Rio’s new safety systems).

Practicality

The Rio will have the most spacious cabin and one of the highest cargo capacities (325 litres) of any car in its class when it goes on sale, with practicality a key focus for the Rio’s development and engineering teams.

The Rio’s 10 mm-longer wheelbase and 15mm-longer body contribute to larger cabin and cargo dimensions. Leg room grows to 1,120 mm in the front and 770 mm in the rear, while the new model offers more shoulder room than most other cars in its class – 1,375 mm in the front and 1,355 in the rear. Despite the new Rio being 5 mm shorter in height than the outgoing model, front and rear headroom (1,021 mm and 966 mm respectively) are among the best in the B-segment.

These improvements to space in the cabin have been achieved with a series of changes to the Rio’s packaging. These include re-profiled door trims, the adoption of new headlining materials, and changes to the shape of the dashboard, as well as more significant changes to the bodyshell of the Rio – such as the longer wheelbase.

Furthermore, thinner C-pillars – reduced in width by 87 mm – and relocated door mirrors (moved up to the base of the A-pillar) help minimise the size of the driver’s blind spots and improve all-round visibility. A lower window line around the cabin and new quarterlights at the tail end of the rear doors also give the driver and passengers a better view out.

The Rio’s cabin offers more storage space than before. At the base of the centre console is an open double storage tray for mobile devices and other small items, and the overhead console includes an area to store sunglasses. The glove compartment is also a single-box shape.

The new Rio has bottle holders in every door (to accommodate 1.5-litre bottles in the front and 0.5-litre bottles in the rear of the car) and two larger cupholders in the front. The doors also feature closed-bottom storage holes in the door handles, useful for small items such as a phone or coins. An optional armrest is available, adding further storage capacity to the cabin.

Luggage capacity has also increased by 37 litres to 325 litres (VDA; +13 per cent), among the best in class. This extra space has been achieved in spite of the Rio’s rear overhang being shortened by 15 mm to 655 mm, a key element of the car’s new design. The new Rio features a split-level boot floor, which enables owners to change the height of the boot floor to fit items under the floor to prevent objects rolling around, or to keep them out of sight. The Rio is fitted as standard with split-folding rear seats and a tyre mobility kit under the boot floor. Buyers can specify an optional spare wheel.

The fuel tank, which is located under the rear bench, is 45 litres in size, two litres larger than the earlier model.

Powertrains

The new Kia Rio will be powered by a range of petrol and diesel engines when it goes on sale in 2017, each offering high efficiency and willing acceleration.

An increasing customer appetite for downsized, turbocharged engines has led to the adoption of Kia’s latest three-cylinder 1.0-litre T-GDI (turbo gasoline direct injection) engines. The lightweight and compact new engine was introduced for the first time in the upgraded Kia cee’d in 2015 and is expected to account for the majority of Rio sales when the new model goes on sale. As well as offering high efficiency and low emissions, the lightweight nature of the new T-GDI engines benefit the Rio’s keen front-end handling, with less mass and inertia for the car to work against under cornering.

Customers ordering their Rio with the 1.0-litre T-GDI engine can choose between 100 or 120 ps power outputs. The 73kW (100ps) engine produces peak power at 4,500 rpm and 172 Nm torque from 1,500 to 4,000 rpm .The higher-powered 88kW (120 ps) engine produces the same torque output across the same band of engine speeds, while power is accessible at a higher 6,000 rpm peak. Now in the latter stages of testing and development, both engines are expected to deliver sub-100 g/km CO2 emissions (NEDC, combined). The Rio’s Idle Stop & Go (ISG) system will see emissions reduced even further, pending homologation.

Alongside the 1.0-litre T-GDI, the Kia Rio is offered with naturally-aspirated 1.25-litre and 1.4-litre MPI (multi-point injection) petrol engines. The 62kW (84 ps) 1.25-litre engine produces its peak power at 6,000 rpm and 122 Nm torque at 4,000 rpm; the 1.4-litre produces 73kW (100 ps)at 6,000 rpm and 132 Nm torque at 4,000 rpm. Pending final homologation tests, both engines are expected to deliver CO2 emissions of under 120 g/km.

For even lower emissions, the new Rio will also be sold with a 1.4-litre diesel engine, producing either 52kW or 66kW (70 or 90 ps). Regardless of power output, the 1.4-litre diesel engine will be capable of producing the lowest CO2 emissions levels in the Rio line-up – Kia engineers are targeting CO2 emissions under 90 g/km, with ISG.

All engines apply power to the front wheels, either through a five-speed manual transmission for 1.25-litre and 73kW (100 ps) 1.0-litre T-GDI petrol engines; or a six-speed manual transmission for the 1.4-litre petrol engine, the higher-output 88kW (120 ps) 1.0-litre T-GDI engine, and both 1.4-litre diesel engines.

Safety

The new Rio will be one of the safest cars in its class when it goes on sale, available with a package of Kia’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). The new Rio is built on high-strength steel body and features a wide array of passive safety equipment – the car is engineered to meet the most demanding crash safety test criteria around the world.

Targeting a five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating when fitted with optional ADAS technology, the Rio will be the first car in the B-segment to feature Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian recognition. The Rio’s AEB system uses a long-range radar detection system to detect potential collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians and helps bring the car to a halt*. AEB is paired with a Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), which alerts the driver if they stray out of their lane on the road without the use of indicators.

The bodyshell of the new Rio is made up of a significant proportion of Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS). The extensive use of AHSS in the body of the Rio is part of a wider effort by Kia to achieve a 5 per cent reduction in the average weight of new car bodies by 2020 when compared to 2014, while enabling greater safety and security. 51 per cent of the new Rio’s body is made out of strong, light AHSS, compared to 33 per cent in the third-generation model.

The higher application of AHSS has strengthened the passenger cabin ‘cell’ for greater occupant safety and more effective distribution of impact forces. The stronger steel has been used to reinforce the A- and B-pillars, as well as side sills, roof structure, engine bay and floor pan.

The new Rio is fitted with six airbags throughout the cabin, as well as ISOFIX child-seat tether and anchor points for front and rear passenger seats.

Driving

As well as being incredibly safe to drive, the new Rio seeks to build on the level of driver engagement offered by the third-generation model. Kia’s chassis development teams have sought to introduce greater driving appeal, with more agile and immediate handling, while improving ride comfort. The Rio sits on fully-independent MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam rear axle.

The development of a stiffer bodyshell gave R&D teams the freedom to develop a more compliant suspension system. The new Rio benefits from a revised spring and damper set-up than the outgoing model, improving the car’s compliance and comfort at all speeds, while facilitating the car’s more enjoyable, engaging handling characteristics.

Compared to the third-generation model, the modifications to the Rio’s chassis include: more rigid front suspension struts and cross member and a raised rear torsion beam for high-speed stability; the adoption of new vertical rear shock absorbers and front shock absorbers with pre-loaded linear valve technology, both resulting in more linear handling and suspension response over broken road surfaces; and a repositioned power steering gearbox, to enable greater ‘on-centre’ feel through the steering wheel. The changes to the chassis are designed to endow the Rio with more immediate handling responses and improve the level of confidence that the driver has behind the wheel.

On top of the new package of ADAS technologies, the new Rio is fitted as standard with Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) with Electronic Stability Control (ESC). VSM ensures stability under braking and cornering, detecting a loss in traction and using ESC to help the driver keep the car on course.

Connectivity

At the centre of the dashboard is the new infotainment system, housing Kia’s latest HMI (human-machine interface). The new Rio is available with a ‘floating’ 5.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, paired with a six-speaker audio system. Buyers can also specify a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment and navigation system. Android Auto™ or Apple CarPlay™ will be available.

The new Rio will offer buyers access to Kia’s Connected Services, powered by TomTom®. This new connectivity package offers drivers a wide range of up-to-date information, including live traffic updates**, speed camera locations and alerts**, local point-of-interest search and weather forecasts. Available in cars equipped with navigation Kia’s Connected Services will be available free of charge for European buyers for seven years after the car’s purchase.

The Rio’s Android Auto™ system is designed to work with Android phones running 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher. Available from launch, Android Auto™ connects to the user’s phone and lets them access smartphone apps and functions through the in-car infotainment system, such as voice-guided Google Maps navigation, hands-free calls and texts and voice recognition. Android Auto™ also lets users stream music from Google Play Music™ and other services.

Apple CarPlay™, for iPhone 5 or newer, will enable full Siri voice control to manage the phone’s various functions and apps, including navigation via Apple Maps, calls and text dictation. Apple CarPlay™ also supports other audio apps that the user may have downloaded to their iPhone – such as music streaming or audiobook services.

The Kia Rio will be the first car in the B-segment to be equipped with USB ports in both the front and rear of the cabin, enabling users to physically connect a mobile device to the Rio’s infotainment system, and recharge batteries on the move.

On sale: New Rio arrives in Europe in early 2017 

The all-new Kia Rio will go on sale across Europe in the first quarter of 2017, with the company’s unique 7-Year, 150,000 km warranty as standard.

*Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) is an assistance system and does not relieve the driver from his/her responsibility to safely operate the vehicle at any time. The driver still has to adapt his/her driving behaviour to his/her personal driving capabilities, to the legal requirements and to the overall road and traffic conditions. AEBS is not designed to drive the vehicle autonomously. 
**Legal restrictions to these services may apply depending on country usage

My Drive this week is Kia’s small entry-level hatchback, the Rio. I was actually quite surprised to learn that the current generation Rio is now four and a half years old – I’m surprised because its design is sharp and modern enough that it doesn’t betray its age, but it was actually introduced way back in the second half of 2011. It’s a testament to the smart design work of Kia’s then chief designer Peter Schreyer, who succeeded in giving Kia a unique and modern look (he now heads design at Hyundai as well).

In any case, the Rio came in for a mid-life update last year, getting subtle tweaks to the design as well as a tweaked suspension tune and revised variant line-up. Let’s take a look.

The so-called ‘Tiger’ grille is present on every Kia nowadays and is obviously here on the Rio too. Assertive headlamps flank an H-shaped grille on the front, giving the Rio a tough look, although on this small hatchback it takes on a mildly cute look (I’m thinking of a tiger cub here). The bumpers have gotten a minor tweak in the 2015 update but for all intents and purposes this is the same design we had back when the car launched. But that’s not a bad thing because this design still looks modern enough to be relevant.

At least, until you step inside. Unfortunately, the interior design is mostly carry over as well, which means an instrument cluster with three binnacles and monochrome LCDs in most places. This part of the car is a little more dated, but apart from these points, the cabin is well-finished and of decent quality. There’s plenty of leg room front and back, while the seats themselves are comfortable and supportive, especially the back seats which offer a bit more support than most rivals. There’s also plenty of storage options such as bottle holders and storage bins throughout the cabin.

There are two powerplant options – 1.4 and 1.6 litre naturally aspirated petrol engines. The 1.4 litre engine produces 79 kilowatts of power and 135 Newton-metres of torque, while the 1.6 litre direct-injected engine is more modern and efficient, getting a much beefier 103 kilowatts and 167 Newton-metres from its four cylinders. The 1.4 is paired with a six speed manual or optional four speed automatic, while the 1.6 comes standard with a more modern six speed auto.

I tested the 1.6 and the 6 speed auto, and they make for a reasonably decent showing in an entry-level hatchback. Under relaxed driving the engine is quiet and gets the job done, the six speed auto shifting quickly with a minimum of fuss. If you need to call on the power though, the gearbox is quick to put the engine into a higher rev band. This is because maximum torque comes in at just under 5000 RPM, so it needs those revs for something like an overtake manoeuvre. Still, it shifts quickly and will provide that acceleration, so that’s OK. Fuel economy is officially rated at 6.1 L/100km while I scored 7.5 L/100km litres – both in combined city and highway driving.

Handling is respectable, and while the suspension has received mild tweaks according to Kia, it’s difficult to pick out the difference. It still turns reasonably well around corners, but push it too hard and you’ll find the limits of its grip quickly. The electrically-assisted steering is light and easy to use, although it can momentarily get heavy if you’re doing three point turns and trying to turn it quickly.

The Rio is available in a few trim levels, and is in fact one of the few remaining hatchbacks to still be available with three doors. Standard features include power windows and mirrors, central locking, air conditioning and Bluetooth phone connectivity, while more premium models get cruise control, reverse parking sensors, auto-on headlamps and leather seat trim.

The Rio starts from $13,990 dollars for a three door body with the 1.4 litre engine and manual transmission, and at the moment this is actually a drive-away price, with Kia covering on-road costs for now. A five door body in automatic can be had for $19,090 drive away as well.

So the Rio is getting a little bit dated on the inside but looks every bit as classy on the outside. If your heart is set, you won’t go wrong. That’s it for me this week.

12 March 2016
Albert Malik

The Rio carnival is back in full swing with the arrival of the high-grade SLi and Sport models to complete the team. With Rio continuing its long-standing role as the entree to the Kia brand, the new Sport _ which replaces the previous SLS model _ and the high-spec SLi will only add to the Rio armoury. Both cars come standard with the 103kW and 167Nm 1.6-litre GDi engine coupled to Kia’s lauded in-house 6-speed automatic gearbox. “While the sales profile for Kia is continuing to widen across the model range, Rio remains an integral part of the strategy for continued growth in Australia,” Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer, Damien Meredith said.

“With the Rio model range complete Rio is again ready to fulfill its role within the KMAu family.”

The Sport, at $21,490, is available as a three-door only with a full suite of safety features including Anti-lock Brake System with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist; ESC and Traction Control; Vehicle Management System; Hill-start Assist Control; six airbags, seat belt reminders and three child restraint anchor points (two ISOFIX). For the interior there are leatherette trim seats with red highlight stitching, front seatbelt guides and alloy sports pedals. The Sport is also available with a bespoke exterior hero colour, Digital Yellow. In the five-door SLi ($22,990) the full safety suite is available along with the addition of reverse parking sensors and child-proof rear door locks.

The seats are leather and cloth trim with height adjustable front seat belts. There is privacy glass for the rear windows and tailgate, rain-sensing front wipers and climate control air-conditioning. Premium paint is available at an additional $520 on both models. All Kia models benefit from an industry-leading customer care package which includes 7-Year unlimited kilometre warranty, 7-Year Capped Price Servicing program and 7-Year roadside assist.

Kia’s Light Car hero enters the new year with a new look. Kia’s award-winning Rio has led off the New Year with the arrival of the upgraded light car. The entry-level S, new S Premium and Si models gain a new front and rear bumper design, new grille pattern, new centre fascia and audio unit design, and metallic look highlights while retaining all the safety and convenience features from the outgoing models. The S is available in three- and five-door configuration with the proven 1.4-litre MPI engine coupled to a six-speed manual and four-speed automatic. The three-door S is $15,990 for the manual and $17,990 for the automatic. The five-door model is $16,990 for the manual with the automatic an additional $2000.

The new S Premium grade is available in five-door with the same drive trains as the S but with additional trim and comfort features including 15-inch alloys, front fog lamps, electric folding side mirrors with indicators, cruise control, a six-speaker audio unit with dual tweeters and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The S Premium manual is $17,690 with a $2000 additional charge for automatic.

Stepping up to the Si, available in five-door only, the Rio gains the 1.6-litre GDI engine and standard six-speed automatic along with a new design 16-inch alloy while retaining the additional comfort and convenience features the outgoing Si enjoyed over the S. This includes soft touch trim, sliding centre armrest and centre storage bin. The Si is $21,490. Across all grades the Rio has benefited from additional refinement of the ride and handling localization program from Kia Motors Australia. Ride comfort and control have been improved while steering feel has been moved to a new level.

The upgraded Rio is available in eight colours, seven of which, Clear White, Bright Silver, Aurora Black, Graphite, Mocha, Deep Blue and Signal Red, carry over from the superseded model while there is one new premium colour, Urban Blue. The high end Sport (replacing the current SLS model) and SLi will be released at a time to be determined.