Glen Hill
4 minute read
14 Jun 2017
12:30 pm

New Kia Rio is a ray of sunshine

Glen Hill

The market it serves is significant and highly competitive.

The Kia Rio is in essence what I refer to as “a commodity car”. It’s prime role is to provide reliable, safe transport, and this it does.



The market it serves is significant and highly competitive which leaves manufacturers with little room to manoeuvre. Despite this, Kia is launching the new model range at prices that are virtually unchanged from the outgoing model.

Kia have steadily evolved the Rio to a position where it is a significant player in the B-segment and its most recent incarnation continues this trend.

Key to this has been to change the car’s looks to appeal to its global audience. To this end Kia have used design centres in Germany and California, in close collaboration with the Korean centre.

Kia’s “tiger-nose” grille has grown to be a hallmark of the brand and on the Rio it now appears smaller in height and wider across the front of the car, with a gloss black grille mesh and surround.



The grille is integrated with the newly-designed headlamps now featuring a new U-shaped LED daytime running light signature, depending on the model.

The Rio’s side vents – which house the car’s front fog lamps, if featured, are moved outwards and upwards in the front bumper compared to their position on the third-generation model, adding greater visual width to the front of the car for a stronger overall look.

In profile, the fourth-generation Rio’s lengthened, more balanced stance is achieved with a long bonnet and longer front overhang, a 10 mm longer wheelbase a thinner, more upright C-pillar, and a shorter rear overhang.

Overall, the new car is 15 mm longer than its predecessor and 5 mm lower. The rear section of the Rio is now more upright, with a near-vertical rear windscreen.



The straight line that runs from the grille, through the headlamps and along the top of the doors, continues around the back of the car, paired with thinner, more sculpted rear lamps. High specification models are available with LED taillights with three distinct arrow-shaped elements.

The new Rio is available in a choice of eight exterior colours, with two different aluminium alloy wheel designs in 15- and 17-inch diameter for mid- and high-specification models, while entry-level models feature 15-inch steel wheels and stylish wheel covers. The Rio’s interior has been brought right up to date. At the centre of the dashboard is a “floating” HMI (human-machine interface).

High-specification models feature a new 7-inch touch screen infotainment system.

There are both USB and auxiliary-in ports for front passengers. An additional 12v power socket is also available.

All models feature steering wheel-mounted audio controls and Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free telephony. Higher specification models’ Bluetooth systems also incorporate voice recognition.

The new Rio is available with a choice between black cloth seat upholstery for lower specification models, while high-specification models feature black leather upholstery. Mid- and high-specification models also feature a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear change lever.

As standard, all seat headrests can be moved up and down and the steering column is rake and reach adjustable.

The Rio’s longer body also allows for more passenger and cargo space. At the base of the centre console is an open double tray to store mobile devices and other small items, and the overhead console includes an area to store sunglasses.

The new Rio is offered with revised versions of Kia’s naturally aspirated 1.25-litre and 1.4-litre MPI (multi-point injection) petrol engines. The 1.25-litre engine produces peak power of 62 kW and 120 Nm. The 1.4-litre engine produces 74 kW and 135 Nm torque.



Both engines drive the front wheels, either through a five-speed manual transmission (on the Rio 1.2) or a six-speed manual transmission (on the Rio 1.4-litre). A four-speed automatic transmission is available on 1.4-litre models.

All models are available with an optional automatic transmission for an additional R13 000. A sunroof is available as an option on the Rio TEC for an additional R8 500.

Adding even further value to the Kia Rio package is Kia’s class-leading 5-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, inclusive of roadside assistance, as standard, as well as a 4-year/60 000km service plan.

Model Pricing

  • Rio 1.2 LS Manual R 219 995
  • Rio 1.4 LX Manual R 234 995
  • Rio 1.4 EX Manual R 249 995
  • Rio 1.4 TEC Manual R 274 995