2012 Kia Rio: first details, photos and specs

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 11, 2011

Kia will be launching a new Rio supermini at the Geneva Motor Show this March. This car, which marks the next stage in the transformation of Kia’s range, is being relied on to raise sales in the UK’s biggest market-segment. The Rio is based on the same group platform as the Hyundai i20. It is covered with striking sheetmetal that was created by Kia’s European studio under design chief Peter Schreyer.

Rio stands out due to its dominant headlamps, aggressive lower air vents and new ‘pinched’ treatment of the corporate grille.

The Rio’s dimensions (length, width and wheelbase) were increased, raising interior space and on-road stability. But to improve styling, the roofline was slightly lowered.

The car has a new quality interior that’s designed in Kia’s west coast US studio. The full engine lineup that will be displayed at the Geneva show is likely to include engines new to the Rio since the present engine line-up isn’t compliant with EU5 standards.

The lineup is expected to be focused on a new group of 1.4 and 1.6 petrol and diesels, which Hyundai also uses, and which is coupled with five- and six-speed manual transmissions or a five-speed auto.

The Rio is also expected to feature a new 68bhp 1.1-litre four-cylinder diesel and a 1.2-litre soft-turbo petrol with direction injection. The five-door hatch, which will be launched in September, is the sole body variant. The three-door, which will follow in December, is also likely to be the launch model for Kia’s first-ever warm hatch, expected to arrive in mid-2012.

The latest Kia Rio is 20 mm longer, 25 mm wider and 15mm lower. It includes a wheelbase that has been lengthened by 70 mm, resulting in a total length of 2,570 mm, providing bigger passenger space as well as cargo capacity. It has a total height of 1,455 mm, which makes it one of Kia’s lowest cars in its European product range. It is the first time that the new Kia Rio has been manufactured with two options: 3-door and 5-door bodystyles in Europe.

This shows that it is prepared to totally redefine its status as a competitive vehicle in one of the most competitive divisions -- the B segment. The market research team of Kia forecasts that the demand for B-segment cards worldwide is going to develop in the next two years or so. With the new and sporty Kia Rio’s two bodystyles as well as the popular Venga and Soul models inviting people who want to be unique or need a spacious, compact and versatile MVP, Kia is optimistic about its aim to capture a bigger share of this growing market.

To help reduce fuel use and accomplish the car’s class-leading emissions, Kia engineers have implemented an extensive program to lower weight across a wide range of components. This has resulted to keeping the new KiaRio’s weight to a minimum, even though it is considerably larger than the third-generation model due to its additional equipment. The new Kia Rio’s 5-door version will be on sale in Europe in the third quarter of 2011 while the new 3-door model will join the line-up of Kia’s B-segment in the first quarter of 2012.

The two versions will be exclusively manufactured at the Sohari plant of Kia in Korea. Kia responds to consumer demand for a striking design, additional options and more quality by creating a car such as the new Rio. The new Kia Rio is not an evolution of its ancestor but it is rather, a revolution.

Its audacious and distinctive character means it is completely different from its ancestor, fitting perfectly into the new revitalized family of Kia products. Viewing the New KIA Rio up close will reveal its uniquely different interpretation of the car’s corporate grille, which beautifully includes front lamps to transform the Kia family look.

The latest Kia has a logo that is located on top of the grille. Underneath the grill, the way the front bumper and spoiler are treated reflects its design DNA, including its distinctive presence on the road. According to the profile, the body to glass ratio together with the strong wedge shape, provide a dynamic and sporty stance to Kia Rio. As a result, Rio has a fresh new personality that perfectly matches Picanto and Venga, its siblings.

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