The Once-Lowly Kia Rio Comes Into Its Own

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
the once lowly kia rio comes into its own

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.

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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  • Bswanny Bswanny on Aug 24, 2016

    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

  • Eggsalad Eggsalad on Aug 24, 2016

    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.

  • SCE to AUX I charge at home 99% of the time, on a Level 2 charger I installed myself in 2012 for my Leaf. My house is 1967, 150-Amp service, gas dryer and furnace; everything else is electric with no problems. I switched from gas HW to electric HW last year, when my 18-year-old tank finally failed.I charge at a for-pay station maybe a couple times a year.I don't travel more than an hour each way in my Ioniq 1 EV, so I don't deal much with public chargers. Despite a big electric rate increase this year, my car remains ridiculously cheap to operate.
  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)
  • Ja-GTI So, seems like you have to own a house before you can own a BEV.
  • Kwik_Shift Good thing for fossil fuels to keep the EVs going.
  • Carlson Fan Meh, never cared for this car because I was never a big fan of the Gen 1 Camaro. The Gen 1 Firebird looked better inside and out and you could get it with the 400.The Gen 2 for my eyes was peak Camaro as far as styling w/those sexy split bumpers! They should have modeled the 6th Gen after that.