Kia’s renewed effort to bombard the mainstream with affordable options of quality extends today with the local launch of the 2017 Rio, a new version of one of the Korean automaker’s most successful models. Later in the year it will be joined by the 2017 third-generation Picanto.
It was first revealed at the Paris Motor Show in latter 2016, and this fourth-generation models now comes in a single hatch body style and one engine, with the rest of the car defined by a spread of different trim levels. There’s a bolder, rather substantial looking new exterior, more sophisticated suspension and a revised cabin with new tech features.
This Rio is the largest one there has ever been, growing by 15mm over its predecessor with a 10mm longer wheelbase and a shorter rear overhang. This means more room for passengers and an airier cabin but also amounts to 325-litres of boot space - a 37-litre improvement. Speaking of which, the extended wheelbase allows a larger fuel tank of 45-litres for longer range between fill-ups.
Damien Meredith, Chief Operating Officer of Kia Motors Australia, said: “While the days of Kia being the Rio car company in Australia are long past, the model remains a core plank in the growth and success of the brand in our market,”
“With the improvements and the additional technology and connectivity in the all-new Rio we expect it to remain one of the primary drivers of increased sales and brand awareness in the Australian market.”
The range kicks off at $16,990 (including on-road costs) for the entry-level Rio S with a manual transmission. Shell out $3,000 more will buy you the optional four-speed automatic. Next comes the mid-range Si at $21,490, adding LED day timing running lights and projector fog lamps and improved interior trim.
The most expensive Rio, the SLi, is now priced at $22,990 and brings a more premium cabin with artificial leather trim, automatic wipers, and automatic headlamps.
All Rio’s come with a generous amount of standard kit, including keyless entry and a reversing camera. At the centre of the dashboard sits a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto - satellite navigation is available on the Si and SLi. Overall, the dashboard’s count of buttons has been significantly reduced and angled slightly towards the driver.
Across the model range, the Rio will come with Anti-lock Braking, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Emergency Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control with Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Management System, Hill Start Assist, rear view camera with dynamic parking guidelines, reverse parking sensors, three child restraint anchor points (two ISOFIX) and five three-point seat belts.
The proven 1.4-litre MPI naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine is carried over from the outgoing Rio and develops 74kW and 133Nm, sending drive to the two front wheels. Kia is rather bullish that this engine, paired with the improved suspension tuned for more agility by their Australian ride and handling team, will deliver a fun but safe driving experience.
Of course, all new Rios will come with Kia’s 7-year factory warranty and 7-year capped price servicing and roadside assist.