Paris debut for fourth-generation Kia Rio

  • Progressive new design for Kia’s global best-seller
  • New tech connectivity features
  • ‘First in class’ with autonomous brakes

2017 Kia Rio

2017 Kia Rio Image: Kia Motors

Kia’s Rio, a top-seller in South Africa, has been updated for global release early in 2017 and will be on show for the first time at the 2016 Paris auto show that will open on September 29.

The car will be the fourth generation of Kia’s B-segment hatch and, the automaker believes, will continue to be its best-seller “with an attractive new design, high practicality and convenience, class-leading safety technology, new connectivity features and more engaging ride and handling”.

2017 Kia Rio
2017 Kia Rio

Time, of course, will tell, but for now Michael Cole, Kia Motors Europe’s COO, told The Corner in a media release: “The Rio is an important car for Kia, our best-selling model worldwide in a segment that is one of the most hotly-contested.

“The Rio has typically offered attractive design, low running-costs and practicality. The new model will build on these strengths, with higher desirability, a more enjoyable drive and the most advanced safety features in its class.”

2017 Kia Rio

The car, Kia says, was engineered to meet the needs and desires of a wider range of buyers, so will play an increasingly important role in the Kia model line-up. It will be assembled at Kia’s Sohari manufacturing facility in Korea and go on sale globally in the first quarter of 2017.

The car’s exterior and interior design, Kia says, was led by its design centres in Germany and California but with close collaboration from the company’s domestic design base in Namyang, Korea and “defined by straight lines and smooth surfacing for a distinctive new look and more mature character than its predecessor.”

The “tiger-nose” continues but looks flatter than before. Some things, The Corner thinks, should be left alone… but whatever, the grille is integrated with designed, bi-function, and “more sculpted” headlights that include new U-shaped diode daytime lights.

2017 Kia Rio
2017 Kia Rio

In profile, the bonnet and front overhang are longer, the wheelbase has increased by a centimetre to 2.58m but the rear overhang is shorter.

Overall, the 2017 Rio will be 15mm longer than its predecessor, at 4.065m long and five mm lower (to 1.45m).

The rear is described as being “more upright”, the rear screen is now almost vertical, and the straight line that runs from the grille, through the headlights and along the top of the doors, continues around the back of the car and into thinner, more sculpted, tail lights that include an arrow-shaped diod signature.

The cars, five-doors for Europe (and, by extension, South Africa), will be available in a choice of eight exterior colours and three alloy wheel designs ranging from 15 to 17″ diameter. The Rio will be sold as a five door model in Europe.

The cabin, Kia explains, has also been designed to accommodate new technology. The facia is now angled towards the driver and at its centre is a ‘floating’ HMI (human-machine interface, silly!) with a high-resolution touchscreen. There are fewer buttons, switches are described as being “more ergonomic”.

2017 Kia Rio
2017 Kia Rio

Upholstery for the heatable seats will be cloth or imitation leather, entry and ignition will be keyless, the steering-wheel heatable and the screen wipers and headlights automatic.

Options will include following cruise-control and rearview camera; practicality will involve more cabin space and improved general external visibility, a 325-litre boot, extra cabin cubbies and bottle-holders in each door (1.5-litre front, half-litre rear).

The fuel tank will take 45 litres – which leads us to the engines… petrol and diesel are in the mix. Time will tell which will be allocated to South African availability but Kia believes customers want smaller turbocharged engines so one will be a three-cylinder one-litre T-GDI (turbo gasoline direct-injection).

Kia says the low mass of the unit benefits “keener front-end handling, with less mass and inertia working against cornering”. .

2017 Kia Rio
2017 Kia Rio

Customers ordering their Rio with the one-litre T-GDI engine can choose between 73 or 88kW outputs with CO2 emissions expected to be below 100g/km.

There will also be a 1250cc/62kW and 1400cc68kW multi-point injection petrol engines with, it is hoped emissions ratings below120g/km.

All engines will send power to the front wheels through either a five- or six-speed manual transmission.

The all-new Kia Rio will go on sale across Europe in the first quarter of 2017, with the company’s unique seven-year of 160 000km warranty as standard.

2017 Kia Rio
2017 Kia Rio
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