Charl Bosch
Online Motoring Reporter
2 minute read
26 May 2020
11:10 am

Kia Rio facelifted with new tech and mild-hybrid power

Charl Bosch

Rio now offers mild-hybrid motivation in the form of the same 1.0 T-GDI engine that bowed on the Hyundai i20.

Marking three years in production this year, Kia provided the fourth generation Rio with a mid-life in Europe, along with mild-hybrid technology for the first time.

Externally, the tweaks are subtle and includes a redesigned Tiger Nose grille, LED headlights on all models, a lowered front bumper with revised fog light surrounds, a new eight-spoke 16-inch alloy wheel option and two colours; Perennial Grey and Sporty Blue.

Inside, the Rio receives upgraded materials, a clearer 4.2-inch TFT instrument cluster display, a new blue colour pack that allows for various pieces to be finished in said colour, and for the flagship GT-Line, standard driver and optional passenger height-adjustable seats, a black interior with white stitching on the seats and faux carbon fibre inserts on the dashboard.

The biggest tech addition though is the new eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system that boasts Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite navigation, online voice recognition and Kia’s latest Connect telematics service that provides real-time updates such as weather and traffic to name but a few.

On the safety front, and depending on the market and trim level, the Rio comes equipped with Lane Keeping Assist, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian and Cyclist Recognition, Blind Spot Collision Warning, Lane Following Assist, Smart Cruise Control, Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist with Rear Occupant Alert, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist, Driver Attention Warning and Leading Vehicle Departure Alert that signals the driver when a stopped vehicle in front has moved.

Up front, and as mentioned, the Rio now offers mild-hybrid motivation in the form of the same 1.0 T-GDI engine that bowed on sister brand Hyundai’s new i20. Combined with a 48-volt starter/generator, the claimed output is rated at 88kW/200Nm with drive going to the front wheels via a new six-speed intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT).

Aside from the mid-hybrid, the T-GDI can also be specified without the system and in two outputs; 74 kW and 88 kW with the former having the option of a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox or the mentioned manual. Completing the drivetrain’s updates is a normally aspirated 1.2-litre petrol that delivers 63 kW to the front wheels via a five-speed manual ‘box.

Going on sale on the Old Continent soon, the updated Rio has been confirmed for South Africa during the fourth quarter of this year with both price and spec still to be confirmed.

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