Rio’s fam­ily val­ues

Kia’s big seller is get­ting a new look, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

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.

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