Back at the 2016 Paris Motor Show in September, Kia Motors of South Korea provided us with a preview of the latest version of its B-segment fighter, the new 2017 Kia Rio. Marking the first of the next generation Rio, the model previewed in Paris has been designed and engineered to cater to the demands and wants of a broader group of customers, with global sales set to commence in the first quarter of 2017.
However, what we saw in Paris is the five-door hatchback version of the Kia Rio. The South Korean carmaker has yet to unveil the sedan form of the Kia Rio, which will be due for the 2018 model year. While we are frustrated that we couldn’t see – for now – how the new Kia Rio sedan would look, perhaps the new Kia K2 sedan unveiled at the Guangzhou Auto Show in China will tide us over.
But don’t get us wrong. The Kia K2 sedan unveiled at the Guangzhou Auto Show is intended for the auto market in China. However, the K2 sedan we just saw in China could provide a good preview of the design of the sedan version of the Kia Rio that would be marketed in the United States and Europe. The K2 and the 2017 Rio share several characteristics. For instance, the hood and the headlights of both models are very similar. Moreover, both models feature the general tiger nose grille design of the front end, although that of the Rio hatchback is bigger. Moreover, the rear end of the K2 features the new quarter-flanking taillights found on the Rio hatchback. Overall, the rear end of the K2 looks very similar to that of the 2017 Cadenza, primarily because of the duckbill spoiler and sleeker trunk design. This could mean that the design of these parts could be also be seen on the 2018 Rio sedan.
Nonetheless, it should be noted that the 2017 Kia K2 is designed and developed to suit the tastes and preferences of the market in China. Generally, consumers in the country prefer vehicles with premium and luxurious looks. The 2017 Kia K2 features a lot of chrome touches for a sense of luxury. It is expected that these chrome touches would be not be carried over to 2018 Kia Rio sedan. By taking a closer look, we could see that the headlights and the grille on the 2017 Kia Rio hatchback are connected, but those on the Kia K2 are not.
The 2017 Kia K2 is bound to be powered by a naturally aspirated 1.4-liter gasoline engine that delivers 100 hp or by a larger 1.6-liter unit that develops 123 hp. The smaller engine is mated to, as standard, a six-speed manual transmission, although an optional six-speed automatic gearbox is available. The 1.6 liter engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission only.