Kia took the covers off its fourth-generation 2017 Kia Rio small car in Paris, with a brand new and more mature look presented to the world.
Watch the video by clicking the image above.
Due to arrive Down under from as early as January 2017, the new Rio boasts technology not seen on the model before. LED headlights, autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning all feature, though Australian-spec models are only confirmed to offer the AEB at this stage.
The new Rio has grown up and grown out compared to its predecessor, with an extra 5mm of width and extra 10mm added to the wheelbase. Not huge increases, but then the Rio was always one of the bigger cars in its class. This size continues to the boot, where its 325 litres of space even eclipses the Corolla, Focus and Mazda3 from the class above.
The interior is where the Rio has seen most improvement however. It now features a very European design theme, with a 5 or 7-inch touch screen radio and a sleek dash with piano black and brushed chrome inserts adding to the cabin ambience. The HVAC controls feature distinctive toggle switches and everything appears to be quite high quality, as we’ve become used to on recent Kias.
However, it may be best waiting for six or so months before placing your Rio’s order. Regardless of the model you go for, Australia’s initial batch are all powered by a 1.4 litre engine with 73kW and 132Nm with a 4-speed automatic transmission.
Come mid-2017, an 88kW/172Nm 1.0 litre turbocharged engine will be available with a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch automatic and AEB will be offered as well. The 4-speed auto on the 1.4 litre engine will be replaced with a 6-speed auto, and no doubt will bring efficiency improvements as well.
Like most new Kias, the new Rio will have an Australia-specific suspension tune when the 1.0 litre turbo arrives in July 2017, aimed at giving a better balance between city and country driving that Australian drivers demand from their cars. It also gives Kia Australia a chance to better connect with Australian consumers and to try and convince them that the car has been designed with specifically them in mind.
Pricing for the new Rio is not expected to stray too far from the current model’s $16,990 starting price, positioning it exactly half way between the $14,990 Picanto and $18,990 Cerato. Look for our first drive review of the 2017 Kia Rio, coming soon to Chasing Cars.
Words by Jake Williams.