THE Kia Rio is ditching its budget-car past with an all-new model that looks more premium inside and out.
Kia has released the first official images and details of its fourth-generation Rio, which will be shown publicly later in September at the 2016 Paris motor show before reaching Australia sometime in 2017.
There’s a Germanic influence to the straighter-lined, smoother-surfaced Rio that could see it easily confused for a Volkswagen Polo on first glance.
The new styling brings the Rio into line with other newer Kias, including a narrower but wider interpretation of the company’s signature ‘Tiger nose’ grille – now also integrated with new headlights.
The rear of the car is more upright than before and features a shorter overhang. Length grows by 15mm to 4065mm, width increases by 5mm, the roofline drops by 5mm, and the distance between the front and rear wheels widens by 10mm.
There’s a five-door version only this time with the previous three-door dropped.
Kia has also taken the Rio’s interior upmarket, at least visually judging by its images.
The slightly random layout of the outgoing model is replaced with a more harmonious-looking cabin. Highlights include a chunky-rimmed steering wheel that just looks inviting to hold, stylishly designed controls, and a high-resolution colour infotainment display that protrudes from the centre of the dash.
Gloss black and metallic trim that’s standard on every model contributes to the more premium interior experience.
Black or grey cloth seats are standard, with the option to pay extra for artificial-leather seats in black, grey or red.
Kia is holding back further details such as mechanical specifications for now, though the Rio’s engine line-up is expected to be joined by a new 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo.
A sportier GT model is also anticipated for the range.
The Kia Rio is the Korean brand’s best-selling model globally, reaching nearly half a million sales in 2015.
Local sales of the Rio have increased 17 per cent year to date, for a market share of 8 per cent in a segment that includes popular rivals such as the Mazda 2, Toyota Yaris and Ford Fiesta.