The fourth-generation Kia Rio, revealed at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, boasts a bold and distinctive personality, bringing the latest model into line with the rest of Kia’s striking design-led product range.
In addition to appealing to consumers’ aesthetic tastes, the new Kia Rio will spearhead the company’s efforts to significantly grow its market share across the globe by offering potential owners industry-leading environmental credentials.
Target CO2 emissions for the model range start at just 85 g/km – representing a new industry-wide low. This impressive figure places the B-segment Kia Rio ahead of all other models in its class and even all vehicles currently on sale in the entire European market.
Tasked with the difficult job of improving upon the remarkable international sales success of the previous generation model, Kia’s engineers and designers have created a new Rio which combines European finesse with Korean spice to create a form language that also communicates Latin flair, for a truly global appeal.
“The Kia Rio has always been successful, and with this new incarnation we have a car which is extremely attractive with a fresh feeling of sportiness – a car that people will want to buy for its looks, as well as its environmental credentials” comments Benny Oeyen, Vice President Marketing and Product Planning, Kia Motors Europe.
Since its launch in 2005, global sales of the third-generation Kia Rio have totalled more than 860,000 units. It was the company’s third best-selling vehicle in overseas markets during 2010 with sales of more than 219,000 units.
The new Kia Rio model is longer (by 20 mm), wider (by 25 mm), and lower (by -15 mm) and features a wheelbase extended by 70 mm (to 2,570 mm) – greatly enhancing passenger space and cargo capacity. With an overall height of 1,455 mm, new Kia Rio is one of the lowest cars in Kia’s European product range.
Manufactured for the first time with a choice of 5-door and 3-door bodystyles (in Europe), new Kia Rio is set to completely redefine its position as one of the most competitive vehicles in one of the most competitive sectors – the B-segment.
Kia’s market research predicts that global demand for B-segment cars is going to grow significantly over the next two years.
With two bodystyles for sporty new Kia Rio – plus the already popular Soul and Venga models appealing to people who want to stand out from the crowd or need a spacious and versatile compact MPV – Kia is confident of capturing a larger share of this growing market segment.
To lower fuel consumption and help achieve Kia Rio’s class-leading emissions, Kia engineers have carried out an extensive programme to shed weight across a broad range of components. As a result, although new Kia Rio is a significantly larger car than the third-generation model with extra equipment, its weight-gain has been kept to a minimum.
The 5-door version of new Kia Rio will go on sale in Europe during the third quarter of 2011 with the all-new 3-door model joining Kia’s B-segment line-up in the first quarter of 2012. Both versions will be manufactured exclusively at Kia’s Sohari plant in Korea.
‘Premium presence’ for compact new car
With new Rio, Kia has created a car that answers consumer demand for more quality, more choice, and attractive, exciting design.
This new car is no evolution of its predecessor, it is a revolution. The bold and distinctive personality of the new Kia Rio represents a complete departure from its predecessor and fits perfectly into the revitalized new family of Kia products.
Viewed head on, new Kia Rio has its own unique interpretation of the Kia corporate grille which is integrated beautifully with the front lamps to create a new twist on the Kia family look. In this latest form, the Kia logo now sits above the grille. Below the grille, the treatment of front bumper and spoiler again shows signs of the Kia design DNA, with its distinctive on-road presence. In profile, the ratio of body to glass, combined with the car’s strong wedge form, give Kia Rio a dynamic, sporty stance. So Rio has now been given a completely fresh personality which perfectly complements its siblings Picanto and Venga.
Kia Rio shows its connection with the Sportage, too, through its strong and stable rear, flowing C-pillar, dominant high shoulder and fast rear screen angle. The coupe-like roof-line contrasts dramatically with the strong and static rear bumper and gives a power and solidity to the rear view.
This bold but elegant appearance is strengthened by the distinctive feature line which adds tension to the flanks and accentuates the dynamic stance of the car. The careful balance of window graphic, wheelbase and overall proportion give Kia Rio a refinement and premium presence which is rare in the B-segment.
To maximise the impact of Kia Rio´s striking appearance is a fresh new palette of 10 body colours. Kia’s colour and trim team have developed a spectrum of exclusive colours for Rio which underline its refined and stylish character. These include a Wendy Brown and a Graphite Grey, both colours with a classic premium flavour.
With the introduction of the new Rio, the Kia product portfolio has just taken the next important step towards becoming a family of vehicles which has an attractive and coherent brand style but still manages to retain individual product character.
Sophisticated and spacious interior
To complement the striking exterior, Kia Rio’s interior design has also been transformed, with a clean sophisticated theme. The concept follows the corporate Kia interior philosophy with the characteristic horizontal instrument panel, accentuating the feeling of width and space. It is a theme which cleverly combines chic modernity with rationality and achieves a calm timeless quality.
The quality and refinement of interior materials and the attention to detail in fit and finish have been design priorities for new Kia Rio.
As in other recently-launched Kia models, the signature interior architecture – with its ‘three cylinder’ instrument cluster, precise instrument graphics and clear functionality – have been retained. New for Rio, however, are the centrally-located toggle switches, which are neatly integrated into the central heater unit, and control some of the secondary functions.
The sophistication of this interior concept is also reflected in the breadth of trim options which give the car a genuine premium feel, with three trim concepts available. In Kia Rio customers can select from a choice of two-tone interiors, with Cognac Brown or Desert Grey combinations and high quality interior decor. The bespoke feel of the interior underlines the new focus for Kia Rio as a mature, refined, compact premium car.
The current trend towards downsizing of vehicles which is being seen across Europe means that cars in the B-segment are becoming more mature and refined as they are required to satisfy the premium aspirations of more sophisticated customer groups. More refinement, more features, higher quality but above all more choice and distinctive design is in demand.
The radically-new Rio is Kia´s answer to these new market conditions, and numerous ‘big car’ comfort and convenience features will be offered to consumers on a B-segment Kia for the first time when new Rio goes on sale in Europe.
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.
The new Rio’s cabin is more spacious and also feels more spacious. The base of the windscreen is moved forwards by 156 mm and up by 18 mm, while the 70 mm longer wheelbase and 25 mm wider bodyshell bring space benefits for all occupants and cargo capacity. Front legroom is increased by 45 mm, front headroom by 8 mm.
The trunk space is 100 mm wider and the capacity is now 288 litres – a 7% improvement over the previous model. The backrest of the rear seat is split 60/40 for maximum versatility. Users can fold the backrest down, to create an almost flat-floored load area.
Cabin storage includes a larger, 15-litre glove box, a larger centre console with 3-litres of extra capacity and pockets to hold a 1.5-litre bottle in the front doors and a 0.5-litre bottle in the rear doors.
Four highly efficient engines with 70-to-109 ps output In Europe, the new Kia Rio will offer customers a choice of four highly efficient three- and four-cylinder engines – with a 70-to-109 ps power range – and an industry-leading CO2 base-line rating of just 85 g/km, plus fuel consumption as low as 3.2 litres per 100 km.
In many countries, diesel power is the preferred option in this segment and Rio will be available with two versions of Kia’s ‘U2’ power unit – both fitted with 16-valves and a WGT. The 1.4-litre generates 90 ps and 216 Nm of torque, while the 1.1-litre produces 70 ps and 162 Nm. Both engines deliver maximum torque from just 1,750 rpm.
Buyers who prefer their new Kia Rio powered by gasoline can select from a 1.4-litre Gamma or 1.25-litre Kappa engine.
A well-proven power unit in the Kia line-up, the updated ‘Gamma’ has friction-reducing modifications and dual CVVT (continuously variable valve timing), to achieve a responsive performance and competitively modest fuel consumption. With maximum output of 109 ps and peak torque of 136 Nm, this engine powers the fastest Rio – accelerating to 100 kph in 11.5 seconds and reaching a top speed of 181 kph (112 mph).
Kia’s advanced ‘Kappa’ family of engines – also appearing in the New Picanto at the Geneva Show – features dual CVVT, a cast aluminium block, off-set crankshaft, maintenance-free timing chain and low-friction ‘beehive’ valve springs. These technologies significantly improve efficiency and reduce exhaust emissions. The 1.25-litre engine in Kia Rio delivers 85 ps and 117.8 Nm of torque, while achieving fuel economy of 4.8 l/100 km.
Regular Rio models will have a CO2 rating of 94-to-124 g/km. In Europe, these figures can be further reduced by specifying Kia’s optional fuel-stretching ISG technologies (automatic stop-start, advanced alternator control, upgraded starter motor and low-rolling resistance tyres) – available on all models.
Equipped with ISG, Kia Rio’s emissions will range from 85-to-114 g/km, so the two diesel models (under 100 g/km) qualify for local emissions-based tax savings, where available. For these models, fuel economy will range from 3.2 to 4.8 litres per 100 km, contributing to lower running costs.
Standard transmission for both diesels and the larger gasoline engine will be a six-speed manual gearbox, while the 1.25-litre 85 ps engine has a five-speed box. A four-speed automatic gearbox will be available as an option on the 1.4-litre 109 ps gasoline engine.
Improved stability, ride and refinement
Developed from the previous model, the new Kia Rio’s suspension and running gear has been engineered to carry over that popular car’s responsive handling while improving stability, ride quality and refinement – in line with heightened customer expectations.
The electric power-assisted rack and pinion steering now features a combined torque/angle sensor to protect against side wind gusts. It is geared to require 2.82 turns (lock-to-lock) and the steering wheel is adjustable for both height and reach.
Mounted on a sub-frame to isolate road shocks, the MacPherson strut front suspension is largely unchanged, with small alterations to accommodate the new model’s longer wheelbase, wider track and different weight distribution.
The CTBA (coupled torsion beam axle) at the rear is stiffer (reducing under-steer) and the strength of the connection between the trailing-arms and the stub-axles is doubled, improving stability. Wheel travel is increased by 10 mm and the geometry is improved to reduce bump-steer and deliver a more compliant ride.
An all-disc braking system – with 256 / 262 mm (front / rear) diameter discs – is standard on all new Kia Rio models fitted with ESC (electronic stability control). Models not fitted with ESC feature 203 x 10 mm drum brakes at the rear. The performance of the braking system is supported by ABS anti-lock, electronic brake force distribution and emergency ‘brake assist’ systems.
Comprehensive ‘active’ and ‘passive’ safety
For new Kia Rio, an all-new bodyshell was created using a higher percentage of high-strength steel than the third-generation model, enhancing strength and rigidity. Special attention was given to strengthening the engine-bay longitudinal side members, floor panel side members, floor level cross-member between the B-pillars and the transverse dashboard bulkhead.
Kia’s engineers are confident that new Rio will achieve a 5-Star safety rating in EuroNCAP crash tests, following the top ratings scored by cee’d, Venga, Soul, Sportage and Sorento.
In Europe, standard safety equipment will include up to six airbags, ‘active’ front seat head restraints (to protect against whiplash injury in a rear impact).
Available optional safety equipment will include electronic stability control (standard in some markets), hill-start assist (to prevent roll-back when moving off on gradients), new front ‘cornering’ lamps, an adjustable speed-limiter, rear parking sensors, and tyre pressure monitoring system.
A new system called ‘ESS’ (Emergency Stop Signal) will be available for additional safety. To alert following drivers that the car is slowing rapidly, sensors detect when the driver is braking suddenly and hard, and then automatically flash the brake lights three times.
Night time driving is made safer by the availability of Xenon projection headlamps, new front ‘cornering’ lamps, and LED daytime running lights and LED lights rear lights.
Measures to minimise NVH include increasing the rigidity of the car’s bodyshell structure with a stiffer steering column support bracket, reinforced panels within the C-pillar, strengthened rear fascia and increased stiffness for the inner and outer skins of the tailgate, plus larger hydraulic mountings for the engine and transmission to dampen vibrations. Overall, Kia is confident that new Rio will be a class-leader in the B-segment for refinement.