The Kia Rio is now one of the biggest-selling global models of the world’s third-largest car-making group, worth almost half a million annual sales.
The car has a much greater profile elsewhere in the world than it has here in Europe, where, despite consistent sales growth, it has yet to break into the top 10 best-selling cars in the supermini class, and it remains out-sold by both Kia's Ceed and Sportage.
You don’t come by a top-10 place in the European supermini sales charts easily, of course.
In order to earn one, the Rio needs to displace a more established European-built small cars, such as the Seat Ibiza, Citroën C3, Peugeot 208 or Skoda Fabia (it already sells better than the Mazda 2, Honda Jazz and Nissan Micra).
With that in mind, slowly but surely over the past couple of revisions and not at all by coincidence, the Rio has begun to feel more and more like a small car tailored to European tastes – and this latest version develops that trend.
Now in its fourth model generation and recently facelifted for the 2021-model-year, this new Rio is outwardly a match for the pre-facelifted version, although Kia claims that it has gained a little on cabin space. It was designed by teams working in parallel at Kia’s design centre in Germany and North America charged with the idea of making it look more cleanly and sharply cut, and more smoothly surfaced, than it used to. A revised 'tiger nose' front grille and bumpers are among the features new to the latest version.