2011 SEMA Show: Kia Rio B-Spec Racer wants on the race track

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 2, 2011

Right after Kia’s first wins at the GRAND-AM Team and Driver road races in the Street Tuner class of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, it has released the new 2012 Rio 5-door subcompact – its entry into showroom stock (B-Spec) racing. This move is the first expansion plan implemented under Kia’s U.S. motorsports program.

This racecar will rival Honda Fit, Mazda2 and Ford Fiesta, among others, in a series of events organized by various motorsports sanctioning bodies such as GRAND-AM, World Challenge, National Auto Sport Association (NASA) and Sports Car Club of America (SCCA).

For a vehicle enthusiast, the B-Spec racing is a relatively cheap way to get into competitive motorsports with an automobile such as the latest 2012 Rio 5-door that provides a new six-speed manual transmission, excellent driving dynamics, and class-leading fuel economy and horsepower. Once potential racers purchase their 2012 Rio 5-door LX, a B-Spec kit costing around $14,000 is available for purchase from Kinetic Motorsports, the racing partner of Kia.

This kit has everything that one needs to convert the Rio 5-door from a street vehicle to a racecar. The kit includes a racing seat, a roll cage kit, racing harness, quick-release steering wheel, lightweight wheels, shocks, spec-series tires and oil sump pan expansion kit with complete build instructions. The racer can also opt to have the team at Kinetic Motorsports build the Rio at their shop in Buford, Georgia, for an additional expense.

With a bolder and more distinct personality, the fourth-generation Kia Rio is revealed to be more appealing to its customers’ aesthetic tastes. Revealed at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, this latest model aims to lead the company to a significant market growth across the world not only through its striking aesthetic design but also by offering potential buyers an environment-friendly alternative.

To represent a new industry-wide decrease in CO2 emissions, the new range is targeting a startling 85 g/km. This will put the B-segment Kia Rio in the lead amongst other models in the same class and all other vehicles which are sold in Europe.

Previous models have made remarkable sales setting the bar for next generation models but the new Kia Rio was created to live up to the standards – and even more. It was designed to be globally competitive combining European finesse, a hint of its Korean roots and a touch of Latin flair to add to its global appeal.

Its exterior has also been improved, with an increase in length and width by 20mm and 25 mmm, respectively. Its wheelbase is also extended to 2,570 mm (a 70 mm increase from the previous model). All these are done to improve its passenger space and cargo capacity. Overall, the new Kia Rio is one of the lowest amongst its European product range coming with an overall height of only 1,455 mm.

The model has always been a successful one and with that, Kia makes necessary improvements on this latest generation giving it a fresher and sportier look to attract potential owners. According to Benny Oeyen, Kia Motors Europe Vice President for Marketing and Product Planning, the new Kia Rio will appeal to customers beyond its looks as it will attract those who want better environmental credentials.

The third-generation Kia Rio sold more than 860,000 units worldwide since its launch in 2005 and became the Korean automaker’s third best-selling vehicle in overseas markets in 2010 selling at least 219,000 units worldwide. And now, the newest model aims to go beyond its predecessors’ achievements.

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