On road to classy Rio

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - CRUISE CONTROL -

KIA has un­veiled images and some de­tails of its fourth­gen­er­a­tion Rio light hatch­back.

It will be big­ger in most ar­eas and start rolling off the pro­duc­tion line late this year for ar­rival in Aus­tralia be­fore March.

The Rio (above) will be shown at the Paris mo­tor show later this month.

It looks and is wider and longer with stylists tweak­ing the head­lights and grille.

The five-door hatch sits on a new plat­form with the wheel­base stretched 10mm to 2580mm, over­all length by 15mm to 4065mm and width by 5mm to 1725mm.

While the front over­hang is longer with a bon­net, the rear over­hang has been cut shorter.

The “glasshouse” gets a box­ier look, thanks to a more up­right rear hatch glass and thin­ner, more up­right C pil­lars.

The head­lamps now in­cor­po­rate U-shape LED day­time run­ning lights, while at the back, the tail-lamps are de­scribed as “more sculpted”.

It looks like a mini Audi A3, which is not sur­pris­ing as their chief de­sign of­fi­cer Peter Schreyer used to work at the Ger­man lux­ury car maker.

In­side the dash­board is more an­gled to­wards the driver. The Euro-style “float­ing” in­fo­tain­ment touch­screen re­duces the num­ber of but­tons on the cen­tre con­sole.

There will be choices of black or grey cloth or leather up­hol­stery, matched with gloss black and me­tal­lic trim. A red pack with faux leather seats will also be avail­able.

Kia says the all-new Rio will of­fer “class-lead­ing prac­ti­cal­ity and safety tech­nol­ogy, the lat­est con­nec­tiv­ity fea­tures, and more as­sured and en­gag­ing ride and han­dling char­ac­ter­is­tics”.

En­gine choices have not been de­tailed but are ex­pected to be 1.4 and 1.6 litre ca­pac­ity with six-speed man­ual and au­to­matic trans­mis­sions.

The Rio is the Korean man­u­fac­turer’s global best­selling model, with more than 473,000 sold world­wide in 2015.

The next gen­er­a­tion will en­ter pro­duc­tion to­wards the end of 2016 for Europe, with pro­duc­tion tim­ings for other re­gions to be an­nounced later.

It is prob­a­ble the Rio will be launched at the Kia-spon­sored Aus­tralian Open ten­nis tour­na­ment in Jan­uary.

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