Kia Rio Gets The Family Makeover

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
kia rio gets the family makeover

Two years ago, when Kia Souls were just starting to arrive on dealer lots, the Peter Schreyer-styled mini-MPVs looked like “visitors from another planet” on lots filled with old-style Optimas, Spectras and Rios. Today, the Soul fits in fine with its newly-styling siblings… now it’s the old, dumpy Rio’s turn to feel out of place. Along with the frumpy Sedona, the littlest Kia reminds visitors to the Kia lot that once upon a time, not too long ago, Kia’s cars really were an automotive last resort. It’s not that these are fundamentally bad vehicles, but compared to the pop and sizzle offered by their new siblings, they simply aren’t trying to be more than basic transportation. But now, with a new global Rio set to debut at the Geneva Auto Show, even the littlest Kia is getting in on the family’s new flair for visual drama.

According to Kia’s presser:

The new model features a wheelbase extended by 70 mm (to 2,570 mm) and promises greater passenger space and comfort, together with increased cargo capacity to 292 litres for the hatchback. Exterior dimensions changes include: +55 mm (overall length), -15 mm (height) and +25 mm (overall width).

Inside, the new model will deliver a high level of quality previously associated with larger models – together with a wide selection of trim options.

Kia’s B-segment newcomer will be offered with an extensive range of fuel-efficient and low-CO2 petrol and diesel engines, depending on market – including a 1.1-litre diesel unit generating 70 ps, with CO2 emissions from as low as 85 g/km. An all-new, high-performance 1.2-litre Turbo Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) will also be available from 2012.

No word on US sales, but don’t expect a diesel here… the initial launch market is the UK. A three-door version will follow, providing the last stop before Kia’s A-Segment offering, t he Picanto/Morning. Now, all Kia needs is that gullwing minivan it’s been promising as a replacement to the elderly Sedona and its transformation will be complete… at least until automotive design becomes so radical as to make Schreyer’s new look seem as dated and apathetic as the cars it replaced. If that’s even possible.

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2 of 23 comments
  • TonyJZX TonyJZX on Feb 11, 2011

    overall it's quite decent, even the silly side scallop looks a bit vw polo-ish however the nose and light treatment is way too ornate especially for the price class simplify simplify simplify

  • Joel Whipple Joel Whipple on Feb 13, 2011

    A good turbo will place the price of this at the same level as a Honda Fit (with a non-turbo engine). That means one of two things: 1. The turbo will be junk and burn out frequently. 2. Everyone other than the 'gotta get the latest' crowd will run to the Fit (if they have any bit of common sense.) For the record, I own a Yaris. AKA the piece o' junk.

  • Jeff GM currently holds 16% market share in the US with GM's peak market share in 1962 of 50.7%. Current market share for Stellantis in the US is 12% and Ford is 13.4%.
  • Chiefmonkey Honda just cuts too many corners. There's no reason why the base Accord should have a 4 speaker stereo lol. It's a $28,000 midsize sedan, not a Mitsubishi Mirage! Not to diss the Mirage it's a great car for what it is. And what's up with Honda's obsession with the dullest most spartan looking black cloth or leather interiors? Literally every other automaker I can think of offers two, three, four possibilities. If I order even the top trim accord in the blue paint, I am limited to a black interior...why???? Strangely, if I order the white paint, the possibilities expand overwhelmingly to two: black, or dentist's office gray (which clashes with white.) There's zero rhyme or reason to it. Just a cheap, corner cutting company.
  • Dartman It was all a scam just to gin up some free publicity. It worked. Tassos go back to sleep; no ones on your lawn. Real ‘murricans prefer hot dogs to gyros.
  • ToolGuy I plan to install a sink in the crawl space soon. After that I plan to put washer and dryer hookups on my roof.
  • ToolGuy "That power team adds an electric supercharger"YES!