The next-stage in the transformation of Kia’s range will be the launch of a new Rio supermini , a car much-needed to capture sales in the UK’s biggest market-segment.
Based on the same group platform as the Hyundai i20 and revealed today at the Geneva motor show, the Rio is clothed in striking sheetmetal said to be the work of Kia’s European studio under design chief Peter Schreyer.
Characterised by dominant headlamps, aggressive lower air vents and new ‘pinched’ treatment of the corporate grille, the Rio grows in the important dimensions of length, width and wheelbase, which boost interior space and on-road stability, while the roofline is slightly lower to improve the styling.
Inside is a new quality interior, designed in the company’s west coast US studio.
The full engine line-up will be revealed at Geneva, although it’s sure to feature engines new to the Rio since the current engine line-up isn’t EU5 compliant.
It’s likely to centre on new group 1.4 and 1.6 petrol and diesels, also shared with Hyundai, and mated to five- and six-speed manual transmissions or a five-speed auto.
Also tipped for the Rio are a new 68bhp 1.1-litre four-cylinder diesel and a 1.2-litre soft-turbo petrol with direction injection.
At launch in September the five-door hatch will be the sole body variant; the three-door follows in December. The Rio three-door is also likely to be the launch model for Kia’s first-ever warm hatch, rumoured to arrive in mid-2012.