Automotive

Handsome Kia Rio reinforces just how far Korean cars have come

The new Kia Rio, which is yet another example of Peter Schreyer's design nous
The new Kia Rio, which is yet another example of Peter Schreyer's design nous
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The cabin of the new Rio is a big step forward for the brand 
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The cabin of the new Rio is a big step forward for the brand 
The best hatches are practical, and the Rio is no different 
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The best hatches are practical, and the Rio is no different 
The new Rio is better looking outside and better finished inside
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The new Rio is better looking outside and better finished inside
The boot of the new Kia Rio might be a bit boring, but it's a boring bit buyers care about
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The boot of the new Kia Rio might be a bit boring, but it's a boring bit buyers care about
The Rio's cabin is a huge step forward for the Korean brand 
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The Rio's cabin is a huge step forward for the Korean brand 
The Rio sits on wheels between 15 and 17 inches in size
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The Rio sits on wheels between 15 and 17 inches in size
The new Rio comes hot on the heels of the Hyundai i30
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The new Rio comes hot on the heels of the Hyundai i30
The Kia badge has never looked so good
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The Kia badge has never looked so good
The Rio is available with a five or six speed manual gearbox 
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The Rio is available with a five or six speed manual gearbox 
Clear dials fit the Kia's new, more upmarket interior 
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Clear dials fit the Kia's new, more upmarket interior 
The switchgear in the new Rio has all been chosen to feel more upmarket 
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The switchgear in the new Rio has all been chosen to feel more upmarket 
The center touchscreen in the Rio borrows from the Mercedes school of design 
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The center touchscreen in the Rio borrows from the Mercedes school of design 
Kia has angled the center console towards the driver, just like BMW does
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Kia has angled the center console towards the driver, just like BMW does
The touchscreen includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
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The touchscreen includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
The rear of the Rio bears more than a passing resemblance to the new i30
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The rear of the Rio bears more than a passing resemblance to the new i30
The Rio has a stiffer bodyshell and new front suspension
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The Rio has a stiffer bodyshell and new front suspension
Kia is banking on the Rio to keep its growth going
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Kia is banking on the Rio to keep its growth going
The Rio will make its debut at the Paris Motor Show 
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The Rio will make its debut at the Paris Motor Show 
Kia and Hyundai are proving Korean cars needn't be cheap and cheerful 
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Kia and Hyundai are proving Korean cars needn't be cheap and cheerful 
The new Kia Rio sits on new wheels
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The new Kia Rio sits on new wheels
The Rio carries Kia's corporate face well 
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The Rio carries Kia's corporate face well 
The rear of the Rio borrows heavily from the Hyundai i30 
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The rear of the Rio borrows heavily from the Hyundai i30 
The Rio will launch at the Paris Motor Show 
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The Rio will launch at the Paris Motor Show 
The Rio will face off with the Golf and Hyundai i30 
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The Rio will face off with the Golf and Hyundai i30 
The new Kia Rio can be specced with a range of compact petrol motors 
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The new Kia Rio can be specced with a range of compact petrol motors 
The new Kia Rio, which is yet another example of Peter Schreyer's design nous
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The new Kia Rio, which is yet another example of Peter Schreyer's design nous

Just a week after Hyundai showed just how far it has come from its bargain basement beginnings, Kia has proven it's not far behind. The new Rio, set to drop at the Paris Motor Show, is more attractive and better built than its predecessor, and might cause a few sleepless nights for the European class leaders.

You just have to look at the exterior for the first sign this is a different type of Korean car. Since Peter Schreyer, (the man behind the original Audi TT), joined the design team at Kia, the brand has developed a consistent design language that carries nicely into the new Rio. With sharp creases and a slim, horizontal grill, the car's detailing does a good job of hiding the fact it's 15 mm (0.59 in) longer than its predecessor, even if we'd stop short of saying it looks as good as the new Hyundai i30 or Volkswagen Golf.

If the exterior is handsome but uninspiring, the interior of the new Rio is where it really shines. Kia says the materials chosen contribute to a more premium feeling, and the center console is angled towards the driver like it is in a classic BMW. If the console has been nicked from Munich, the floating touchscreen is a dead ringer for the one you'd find in the latest Mercedes C-Class. With Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, connectivity isn't an issue.

The Rio will launch at the Paris Motor Show 
The Rio will launch at the Paris Motor Show 

Power comes from a choice of compact gasoline engines, ranging from 82 hp (61 kW) to 118 hp (88 kW). Diesel power comes courtesy of a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine with either 69 or 88 hp (51 or 66 kW), both of which should emit less than 90 g/km. Top spec gasoline cars and diesels can be hooked up to a six-speed manual, while entry level models have to make do with a five-speeder.

Although there's no word on whether the company's brand new eight speed automatic will make an appearance, we'd be very surprised if it didn't.

Even though Korean cars haven't offered much for keen drivers in past, both Hyundai and Kia are making a concerted effort to win sportier drivers over. With a stiffer bodyshell, redesigned dampers and a new power steering system, the Rio has solid foundation upon which to build a hotter GT version.

Forgetting about sporty drivers, there will also be the full range of active safety features on offer including auto-emergency braking and lane departure warning. The bodyshell also makes use of more ultra-high strength steel, which helps if the systems and driver aren't able to avoid an accident.

Kia hasn't announced pricing for the new Rio, but the car will make its debut at the Paris Motor Show later this month.

Source: Kia

2 comments
IvanWashington
I wonder if they have managed to improve the ride quality over broken pavement? the old models had a stiff and jittery ride.
Calson
Equally important the Korean car manufacturers products are known for their durability and reliability that is on par with that of BMW and far exceeds that of Mercedes Benz. They are emulating Subaru that produced such reliable cars that owners did not worry about the minimal dealer network for service and repairs.