Kia Australia has introduced the latest generation, 2017 Rio, promising an enhanced ride specifically tuned for Australia, alongside more safety and entertainment tech.
The Kia Rio has underpinned Kia’s success here in Australia and around the world, with its annual sales of 500,000 accounting for 16 per cent of Kia’s overall sales. The Rio, now in its fourth generation, is set to be the most capable yet, thanks to a tweak to the spring and damper setup, to make the Rio more compliant on Australia’s challenging (horrible) roads.
Other modifications to the chassis include more rigid front suspension struts, new shock absorbers, as well as a raised torsion beam at the back for increased stability at high speeds.
Speaking of which, the fourth-generation Rio is offered with Kia’s 1.4-litre MPI engine, which produces 74kW at 6000rpm, and 133Nm at 4000rpm, transferring power to the road via a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Australia misses out on the interesting new 1.0-litre turbo offered overseas.
Kia has also taken strides to increase the Rio’s interior space, and says the fourth-generation Rio is one of the most spacious of any in its class, with 325L of boot space on offer – a 13 per cent increase over the previous Rio. The new Rio has a longer wheelbase (10mm longer) than its predecessor, with legroom rated at 1120mm front, and 770mm rear.
Inside, the Rio offers a similar mix of cut-price modernity, with three interior trims available in Australia; all of which include Kia’s 7.0-inch ‘floating’ touch-screen MMI, or HMI (human-machine interface) as Kia puts it. Kia’s HMI includes the incorporation of both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Si and SLi variants receive a new satellite navigation system with live traffic updates and DAB digital radio.
Buyers of the base model S variant receive a black one-tone finish, with cloth seats. The Si includes an embossed cloth interior, while the SLi offers a more premium finish, with faux leather. In regards to equipment, all variants receive keyless entry and a rear-view camera with parking sensors, while the Si and SLi are packaged with niceties like cruise control and rain-sensing wipers (SLi only).
The 2017 Rio rides on a new chassis design, constructed largely from advanced high strength steel (AHSS), which has made the Rio 5 per cent lighter, but also benefits in regard to occupant safety. Aside from the more rigid body, the Rio comes fitted with six airbags, ABS, EBD and emergency brake assist.
“While the days of Kia being the Rio car company in Australia are long past, the model remains a core plank in the growth and success of the brand in our market,” Kia Motors Australia CEO Damien Meredith said.
“With the improvements and the additional technology and connectivity in the all-new Rio we expect it to remain one of the primary drivers of increased sales and brand awareness in the Australian market.”
The new model is on sale now, with prices and variants as below (prices exclude on-road costs):
2017 Kia Rio S manual – $16,990
2017 Kia Rio S auto – $19,090
2017 Kia Rio Si auto – $21,490
2017 Kia Rio SLi auto – $22,990