Rio’s family values
Kia’s big seller is getting a new look, writes NEIL McDONALD
THE rollout of the Kia family identity is picking up pace. Kia has adopted the ‘‘H’’ signature grille from chief designer Peter Schreyer for the latest Soul, Cerato and Sorento models.
Now it’s the Rio’s turn. Kia Australia spokesman Jonathan Fletcher says the new-look Rio sedan and hatch are perhaps the most important models to get the signature Schreyer treatment.
‘‘They are our volume sellers so the family association is very important,’’ he says.
This leaves the Rondo and Carnival the only remaining local Kias without the new family face.
Fletcher says an updated Sport- age is expected to get some cosmetic improvements in September, but it may not get the new face as the next-generation off-roader is due next-year.
The new-look Rio is not expected to arrive in local showrooms until October at the earliest.
The Rio’s family grille sits in a new front bumper with larger air intakes and new foglights.
Equipment has been upgraded and the cabin gets higher-quality materials. There are new instruments, a centre console and up- graded CD-stereo system with Bluetooth connectivity.
The car’s green instrument lighting has been changed to red backlighting.
On the outside, some models are tipped to get five-spoke alloys and there are Euro-style indicator lights in the mirrors.
Called Kia Pride in South Korea, the current Rio has been on sale here since 2005. Apart from being the brand’s local bestseller, it has also been one of the top-five Kia cars globally.
As with the Cerato and Soul, the Rio also gets the new threespoke steering-wheel design.
Under the bonnet, the 1.4-litre four-cylinder is likely to carry over, but buyers will get an updated 1.6-litre petrol engine tweaked for better fuel economy and lower emissions.
Prices are expected to remain close to the current car’s $14,990 entry point.
The 81kW/235Nm 1.5-litre turbodiesel engine used in Europe is unlikely to see duty here.