2012 Kia Rio 5-Door, Sedan make their debut in the U.S.

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 31, 2011

The lineup of Kia Motors America (KMA) will soon receive the all-new 2012 Rio 5-door hatchback, which was presented at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, and the Rio sedan, which appeared at the 2011 New York International Auto Show. Kia said that Rio is the first non-hybrid or luxury vehicle to feature ISG technology.

The 2012 Rio is offered in three trims: LX, EX and SX. They come with a 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder with the option of either a six-speed manual transmission (LX only) or efficient six-speed automatic.

Beginning with the LX trim, the standard features consist of body-colored door handles and side mirrors, rear wiper and washer, multi-reflector headlamps and a set of 15-inch steel wheels with 185/65R15 tires.

In addition, the Rio 5-door has been fitted with a standard rear spoiler for enhanced aerodynamics. Opting for the EX trim gives the consumer more standard conveniences such as power door locks with keyless entry and a chrome front grille surround to add to the stylish and sleek appearance of the Rio.

The SX trim has been installed with a set of standard 17-inch wheels with 205/45R17 tires, LED accent lights and rear combination lamps, fog lamps, dual chrome exhaust tips, power-folding outside heated mirrors that have turn signal indicators. The Rio also features an exclusive set of 5-door, projector headlamps.

Kia further reveals that when it comes to design, the all-new 2012 Rio 5-door and its sedan sibling will have their own versions of Kia's signature grille, which had been made thinner so that it could connect to the dynamic headlamp design. Kia explains further that this is a “new twist” on the look of the Kia family, which will receive a larger air intake to radiate a “youthful persona.”

For most automakers, a new model is usually an evolved version of the previous model. Kia however took a different approach with the Rio as it is more of a transformation. Take for example when it is viewed on its front. While it still has that corporate grille the brand is known for, the Rio delivers a distinct interpretation. In addition, it has been exquisitely integrated to its front lamps, resulting in giving a new twist to the already familiar look of the Kia family.

On top of this new model’s grille lies the brand’s logo while under it are the spoiler and bumper which displays the design DNA of the brand. This also gives the Rio that unique on-road presence. Its powerful wedge shape results in an athletic and dynamic stance especially when combined with the ratio of its body to the glass. Reinforcing this elegant yet powerful look is the unique feature line which highlights the dynamism of this model and brings in that extra tension to the sides.

By achieving the right balance of overall proportions, wheelbase, and window graphic, the Rio gained a premium presence and sophistication that is rarely seen under the B-segment. Clearly, the Rio comes with its own fresh character which more than complements both the Venga and the Picanto. It does not stop there as the Rio also reveals that it shares a kindred spirit with the Sportage. This is evident in the fast rear screen angle, the stable and strong rear, dominant high shoulder, and flowing C-pillar.

The bumper in the rear is static and powerful and provides a contrast to the roof-line, shaped like a coupe, to give the rear view a solid feel, aside from power. This remarkable look is optimized even further with the brand offering a choice of 10 new colors, like Graphite Grey and Wendy Brown, for its body. This is all thanks to the trim and color team who managed to create a wide range of exclusive colors and therefore highlights its style and refinement.

Since the Rio already has an outstanding exterior, the design of the interior was transformed to follow an advanced and clean motif and thus complement what is outside. This is in line with the philosophy of the brand for the interior to continue to have that distinguishing horizontal instrument panel and therefore underscore that feeling of space and width. Not surprisingly, the brand is able to mix this classy modernity with consistency to get that calm timeless quality. Specifically for the Rio, the brand made sure to put in that extra focus to the detail of the fit and finish as well as having the elegance, and even quality, of the materials used for the interior.

As expected, the interior architecture comes with the Kia signature similar to models that have been newly released. This includes the instrument graphics that is not just precise but also has clear functionality. It even has the three-cylinder instrument cluster. One difference in the Rio though is that the toggle switches have been placed in a central location and have been incorporated to its central heater unit. These same switches are also what regulates the Rio’s secondary functions.

The Rio reveals that the brand has managed to take its product portfolio to the next level and is now a family of vehicles with a coherent and attractive brand style. Even with this, it has been able to preserve its individual product character. Indeed, with its unique and confident personality, the Rio is able to perfectly fit into the brand’s invigorated line-up while being able to completely advance on its own. Through the Rio, the brand has managed to build a vehicle that can meet the demands of customers when it comes to having more quality, additional choices, and having an exciting and attractive design.

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