By on August 24, 2016

 

2017 Kia Rio

The next-generation Kia Rio will receive styling to match its confidence as the brand’s best-selling vehicle.

The automaker released design renderings of the looming 2017 Rio today, in advance of the model’s world premiere at the Paris Motor Show on September 29. The sad sedans that once populated the back of used car lots are now a distant memory.

For the next-generation Rio, Kia tapped the talent of its U.S., German and Korean design studios for a top-to-bottom revamp of the subcompact hatchback.

2017 Kia Rio

If you haven’t noticed, straight lines are back, baby, and the Rio adopts them with enthusiasm. A longer hood and front overhang, flat surfaces, and upright C-pillar give the hatch some swagger, while the restyled front end now belongs in the “angry grilles” category.

Kia doesn’t elaborate much on the model’s content, but does say that the next Rio will contain “class-leading” safety and connectivity features, as well as upgraded handling and sportier ride characteristics.

There’s no mention of an updated drivetrain. Currently, the Rio sports a 137-horsepower direct-injection 1.6-liter four-cylinder.

Production of the Europe-bound Rio begins late this year. The automaker will announce production dates for other markets closer to the launch date.

Kia sold 473,000 Rios around the world last year, but sales slid in the North American market as the model — last updated for the 2012 model year — grew stale.

[Images: Kia Motors]

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48 Comments on “The Once-Lowly Kia Rio Comes Into its Own...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    *facepalm*

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Because when I buy an economy car, I want to buy rims & tires that cost only slightly less than the car itself and will dent if I look at them funny.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Almost all cars have gone with the big wheel big tire ,let the buyer worry about replacement cost route. I think it looks pretty good on the outside sort of the old Audi A3

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Krampy Korean Klown Kar. With big klown feets!

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    Yeah, that pic up there is what they’re selling. This is what you’ll actually get:

    http://perisoft.org/rio.jpg

  • avatar
    RHD

    Door handles are an extra-cost option.
    Windshield wipers, valve stems, radio antenna and fuel filler cap are available only on the top-of-the-line luxury trim version with the “Enhanced Functionality” option.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I liked it better when they were cheeky enough to call the hatch/wagon version the Rio Cinco.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I like the straight lines, I dont like the cookie cutter front end (seriously thats the best these three studios could do?), roof could be a bit too low on the production model.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Dealin’ in any RWD Volvos lately?

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Nah, I’ve sold the rest of my RWD parts but thats about it. Only good local one is a 70s 245 thats a little more costly than the typical Volvo beater.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          IIRC those earlier ones have so much to update its a meh unless very clean IMO. I do think they don’t have the biodegradable wiring harness though which is a plus.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            That is true, the local one has small patches of rust, fairly clean otherwise but the price is $2600, has idle issues, on the upside the sellers at least picky about buyers (will only sell to Volvo buffs or experienced car guys).

            Only other RWD models are a manual 245 for $2100, needs work and has 255k+ miles. A kinda junky 740 Sedan, and a ’94 940 wagon with a dead engine (how they killed a late redblock I dunno).

            Of course theres like 3-5 850s with CEL issues.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            If you had access to a shop (and the know how to do an engine swap) the 940 wagon may be an interesting pickup.

            I’d also look at a manual 245 as a keeper, if I had room. From what I was told, the manual was rare in the wagon (at least in the 86+ period).

  • avatar
    daviel

    Put the 201 hp 1.6 turbo in a Rio SX.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    That reminds me, I saw a new hatchback draped in coverings on the street last week. I wasn’t sure what brand it is, as everything was covered up, even the wheelcaps. But it did look vaguely German, and while the front of the car was covered up, when I crossed in front of it, I could see an oval logo through the mesh. It definitely wasn’t a Ford, so I’m thinking it was a Kia.

    I snapped a few pictures, it still looks like a Kia to me. Is there a new Forte coming as well? It looked too long to be a Rio.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    This actually intrigues, if not dare I say excites me. The Forte is cool, but there’s nothing like a lower curbweight and smaller footprint for driving fun. If they can combine:

    – the interior space of the Versa
    – the driving dynamics of the Fiesta
    – Kia’s current interior/exterior design flair
    – current Rio’s pricing

    They will have a slam dunk. It could cannibalize the Forte actually. We will see what they do though. If they make a version with an IRS and the 1.6T I may have no choice but to get one. I am really feeling H/K’s potential.

  • avatar
    rodface

    Guys, relax, it’s an illustration! Sajeev, get in here and tell these people that “door handles”, “rooflines for people *with* necks” and “realistically-sized rims” don’t ooze the slickness required from these depictions?

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Look at Tiger Nose! Almost closed-up. Gonna need Breathe Right nasal strips.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Wait, did we decide the last generation Rio was a bad looking car? I thought it was quite decent, especially in hatch form. It just had poor rear visibility and weird bouncy suspension that wasn’t exceptionally comfortable or fun to drive. Also, the plastics the Koreans use still strike me as unpleasantly cheap. But, you know, it looked good, so there was that.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Are you referring to this sputum goblet?

      https://i.ytimg.com/vi/5KRgbo_B34Y/maxresdefault.jpg

      That’s almost as kiddie-car risible as a Fiesta.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        So what subcompacts do you consider well designed then? Let’s disqualify the Fit (wonderful as it is), because lots of headroom does not make a car good looking.

        No, the outgoing Rio is reasonably clean without being bland. Also, it’s not the Accent – I have no idea what Hyundai was trying for there.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          You’re conflating well-designed with your personal opinion of good looking and you disqualified the only subcompact I would’ve enthused about, even in its present denuded config.

          I’m goin’ home.

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            Fine, go full Vellum Venom on me – what’s so wrong with the Rio? It might be the only subcompact to qualify as anything approaching good looking (I include my own beloved little Mazda in there). It’s decently proportioned, neither bland or overwrought, it’s a handsome little car.

            I’d still buy a Fit over it without a moment’s consideration (even if it is weird looking), but in discussing the forthcoming Rio’s looks, there was snark over the last Rio’s styling, and that didn’t seem right.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I do like the looks of this Rio. If Kia can keep that low wide stance on the front end and drop a turbo 1.6 to liven things up.

    Good effort Kia you might have a winner here.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      A “GT” version has been seen in spy shots that apparently has a ~180 HP turbo 1.6L engine.

      It gives a better idea of the production car’s proportions and lines than the drawing as well.

      http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2016/08/kia-rio-gt-hot-hatch-spied-testing-a-sporty-front-end.html

  • avatar
    bertvl

    Let’s hope they do something about the handling. The current model bump-steers so badly you’ll spear off the road if you run over a nickel.

    I’m exaggerating of course, but barely. The current Rio looks OK and is cheap and well-equipped, but the suspension setup is atrocious. It’s the worst in the sub-compact segment.

  • avatar
    bswanny

    If they put their 1.4L turbo out of the Eco models into this. Wow. Granted they would have to have talent in the handling area which no Kia/Hyundai product even remotely possesses. Oh well

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Currently, if you want a Rio, you have to choose between cruise control and a clutch pedal. Kia USA will not sell you a Rio with both. Dunno why, but that knocked Kia straight off my list when I was shopping.

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