Her Name Was Rio, and She Looks Bigger Than Before

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
her name was rio and she looks bigger than before

Kia Motors has pulled the wraps off of its next-generation Rio subcompact ahead of its Paris Motor Show debut later this month, revealing a newfound love of straight lines that couldn’t be more different from the bulbous previous generation.

A longer, flatter hood, longer wheelbase, high beltline and upright C-pillar aim to make the 2017 Rio appear more mature and refined. Kia engineers adopted the 1950s “longer/lower/wider” approach for the redesign, as the hatch hits a growth spurt.

The new Rio isn’t in danger of moving up to a new size class, but it is bigger. Wheelbase is up four-tenths of an inch, while overall length grows six-tenths of an inch. Width grows by two-tenths of an inch, while body height drops by the same amount.

Actual growth is modest, so Kia turned to its designers to boost the appearance of length and width. The high, flat beltline, as well as ruler-straight character lines running the length of the vehicle stretch the model like Gumbi. Gone is the marshmallow of past years, which this writer felt resembled the late (and unlamented) Daewoo Lanos.

Foglights are moved as far to corners of the redesigned face as possible. Kia calls the new front fascia the latest version of its corporate “tiger-nose” grille. (Here’s an actual tiger for comparison.)

The “straight lines are great” motif continues in the cabin, with the dash redesigned to make the interior look wider. A redesigned center stack and a cockpit dash angled towards the driver aim for a modern look. Don’t worry, econobox fans, grey fabric is still available, but Kia would probably prefer you opt for the fake leather.

The next-generation Rio starts production in Europe towards the end of this year, but the automaker hasn’t announced when to expect U.S.-bound models or if we should expect any powertrain changes.

[Images: Kia Motors; Wikimedia Commons]

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  • Paragon Paragon on Sep 02, 2016

    About this girl Rio. Some of us around here wonder how she dances. Cause we've heard about her...on the radio.

  • Jamez9k Jamez9k on Sep 06, 2016

    I'm glad to see at least one manufacturer who's not affraid to offer a subcompact that doesn't look like something made to appeal to 5 year olds!

  • MrIcky I like the 78 concept. I like the safari type top on the purple one but I don't like that color, I want to like the warth...scrambler concept but it doesn't quite do it for me. I'd like to try the magneto.
  • Tassos GM, especially under the sorry reign of socially promoted nobody Mary Barra (who would not have a chance in hell being appointed the CEO if she was a MALE) has done far dumber and sillier things than that, wasting BILLIONS on 'cruise' and expecting it to make it $50 billion, remember? THey do not mention the name much these days, the clowns at GM, do they?
  • MaintenanceCosts I notice that the pictures don't show the dash or the door cards, two places where you'd be most likely to notice interior disintegration on a VW of this vintage.Looks nice on the outside but I wouldn't touch it.
  • SilverHawk At least in the short term, this is simply going to cause more anxiety among the more technology shy consumers looking to buy a new vehicle. Especially when this is not being done for the benefit of the vehicle owner, but for the convenience of GM's marketing department. Personal data security is an extremely important issue in today's world.
  • Ajla I don't think I'd be able to part with something I kept for 23 years. Especially as the only owner.