The new KIA Rio will be available as 3-door and 5-door version and features Kia’s signature grille, integrated with the headlamps to give a new twist on the Kia family look. In profile, the body to glass ratio and its strong wedge form give new Rio a dynamic stance.
The new model KIA Rio is also larger than the old one and offers greater comfort for passengers and more space for their luggage. It has a wheelbase of 2,570 mm and 292 litres of cargo space. Dimensions compared to old model: +55 mm (overall length), -15 mm (height) and +25 mm (overall width).
KIA Rio Styled under the supervision of ex-Audi designer Peter Schreyer, the Rio features Kia’s characteristic grille design and some unique touches like rakish A-pillars and door-mounted side mirrors. Sedan and five-door models both get their own unique fascias, although they share a character-defining swoop along their sides. At the rear, obviously, the two models differ. We’re partial to the sedan, even if its tail lamps and basic shape were cribbed from the European-market Seat Leon. But since that’s a car most subcompact buyers in North America have unlikely ever encountered, let alone heard of, we suppose this immitation is acceptable, if not entirely forgivable.
Inside the KIA Rio, the look is a bit more homegrown. Kia-characteristic hooded instruments include four real gauges, rather than the digital gas and temperature meters seen in most subcompacts. A sufficiently meaty four-spoke steering wheel is covered in rubbery leather in some models (like our SX photo car). The center stack contains one of three radio options and nifty toggle-style switches for some climate functions. Only a curiously useless square box on the upper dashboard seeems amiss. All models get a center armrest and useful cupholders, plus an enormous glove box. Front seats are covered in a grippy cloth or a price-appropriate leather, although they don’t offer adjustable lumbar. The rear seat is roomy for the class, but still best left to shorter folks. Hatchbacks feature a roomy cargo area capable of fitting 15 cubic feet of your belongings with the split-folding seats raised. All but the base two trim packages feature a soft-touch dashboard, an almost unheard-of item in the subcompact segment.
Optional features available on new Kia Rio cars for the European market will include smart-key entry system with engine start/stop button, RDS radio CD player with MP3 compatibility plus AUX, iPod and USB connections, Bluetooth® handsfree (with voice recognition available from December 2011), cruise control, climate-control air-conditioning, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. In some markets, the dashboard will come pre-wired to accept the optional portable navigation system.
Underhood KIA Rio, it offers a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that shares its displacement with the outgoing car’s powertrain, but not much else. Featuring dual continuously variable valve timing and gasoline direct injection, the 1.6 puts out 138 horsepower and 123 lb-ft. of torque at 4,850 rpm. Base LX models receive a six-speed stick, but all other models offer only a six-speed automatic with a manual shift mode.
A unique feature for Kia on this engine is the Idle, Stop and Go (ISG) system, which in theory would shut the engine off at traffic lights to conserve fuel. The engine would then fire up as soon as you touch the gas pedal. ISG is an optional feature on the Rio, and sadly all the test cars at the launch did not have this system for us to test. Perhaps the system is still being refined. However, the Rio is the first sub-compact to offer a stop and go system. 2012 KIA Rio.