Kia’s all-new, fourth-generation Rio, which made its world premiere at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, is set to spark a revolution in the compact car segment and power a boom in the growth of Kia sales. New Rio boasts a bold and distinctive personality, bringing the latest B-segment model smartly into line with the rest of Kia’s strikingly modern, design-led product range.
Tasked with the difficult job of improving upon the remarkable international commercial success of the previous generation Rio model, Kia’s engineers and designers have created a new Rio family of models which combine European finesse with Korean spice to create a form language that also communicates Latin flair — for a truly global appeal.
“The new Kia Rio model is a revolution, not an evolution from its predecessor. Rio has always been a commercial success and with this new incarnation we now have a car which is extremely attractive with a fresh feeling of sportiness — a car that people will want to buy for its new looks, as well as for its new premium feeling, generous features and environmental credentials,” comments Thomas Oh, senior executive vice president & COO, Kia Motors Corporation.
Since its launch in 2005, global sales of the third-generation Kia Rio have totaled more than 860,000 units. It was the company’s third best-selling vehicle in overseas markets during 2010 with sales of more than 219,000 units.
Kia’s market research predicts that global demand for B-segment cars is going to grow significantly over the next two years as more consumers shift to more economical, more fuel-efficient cars — downsizing to offset the continuous rise in fuel prices. Analysts forecast that global demand for B-segment cars will climb to 9.2 million units in 2012 and to 14.0 million units by 2014, including a 10.1 percent rise in demand across General Markets, which will account for more than 3.8 million units in 2012 and 8.0 million by 2014.
“With the already popular Soul and new Rio models in three body styles appealing to people who want to stand out from the crowd or need a spacious and versatile compact car — Kia is confident of capturing a much larger share of this growing market segment,” adds Oh.
With new Rio, Kia has created a car that answers consumer demand for more quality, more choice, and an attractive, exciting design. This new car is no evolution of its predecessor, it is a revolution. The bold and distinctive personality of the new Rio represents a complete departure from its predecessor and fits perfectly into the revitalized new family of Kia products.
In profile, the 4-door model’s shorter front overhang (reduced by 35 mm), lowered roofline and increased ratio of body-to-glass, combine with the car’s strong wedge form (the beltline angle is increased from 2.5 to 4.9 degrees), to give new Rio a dynamic, sporty stance. The side view of new Rio can be enhanced by customers specifying the largest diameter, five-spoke design 17-inch alloy wheels with 45 profile tires.
From the rear, new Rio shows its connection with the Sportage, too, through its strong and stable design, flowing C-pillar, dominant high shoulder and fast rear screen angle. The coupe-like roofline contrasts dramatically with the strong and static rear bumper and gives a power and solidity to the rear view.
With the introduction of the new Rio, the Kia product portfolio has just taken the next important step toward becoming a family of vehicles which has an attractive and coherent brand style but still manages to retain individual product character.
To complement the striking exterior styling, new Rio’s interior design has also been transformed, with a clean sophisticated theme. The concept follows the corporate Kia interior philosophy with the characteristic horizontal instrument panel, accentuating the feeling of width and space in the cabin. It is a theme which cleverly combines chic modernity with rationality and achieves a calm timeless quality.
The enhanced quality and refinement of interior materials and the attention to detail in fit and finish have been design priorities for new Rio.
As in other recently-launched Kia models, the signature interior architecture — with its ‘three cylinder’ instrument cluster, precise instrument graphics and clear functionality — have been retained. Easy on the eyes and with proven “readability” all back-lighting on the instrument cluster, dashboard, audio and heating systems feature Kia’s signature red color.
New for Rio, however, are the centrally-located row of toggle switches, which are neatly integrated into the central heater unit, and control some of the car’s secondary functions.
The new Rio’s cabin is more spacious than the previous model and also feels more spacious. The base of the windscreen is moved forwards by 156 mm and up by 18 mm, which together with the 70 mm longer wheelbase and 25 mm wider bodyshell, brings space benefits for all occupants and for cargo capacity. Front legroom is increased by 45 mm, front headroom by 8 mm and rear knee room by 34 mm.
In general markets, Kia will offer new Rio customers a choice of two highly efficient four- cylinder gasoline engines — a 1.4-liter Gamma or 1.25-liter Kappa engine — generating 107 ps or 87 ps of power, respectively.
A popular and well-proven power unit in Kia’s engine line-up, the updated “Gamma” fitted in new Rio has friction-reducing modifications and dual CVVT (continuously variable valve timing), to achieve a responsive performance and competitively modest fuel consumption. With maximum output of 107 ps (at 6,300 rpm) and peak torque of 135 Nm (at 4,200 rpm), this engine powers the fastest Rio — accelerating the 5-door manual model to 100 kph in 11.5 seconds and reaching a top speed of 183 kph.
Developed from the previous model, the New Rio’s suspension and running gear has been totally re-engineered to carry over that popular car’s responsive handling while improving stability, ride quality and refinement — in line with heightened customer expectations.
The electric power-assisted rack and pinion steering (called MDPS) now features a combined torque/angle sensor to protect against side wind gusts. Speed-sensitive, the system is geared to require just 2.82 turns (lock-to-lock) and the turning circle is a city-street-friendly 10.52 meters. The use of electric, rather than hydraulic, power assistance results in a 3 percent fuel saving.
The MDPS system is standard on EX and optional on LX models, which feature an unassisted manual system with 4.42 turns (lock-to-lock) as standard. The four-spoke steering wheel is ‘tilt’ adjustable for height on all models and telescopic adjustment of the steering wheel for reach is an available option on EX models.
For new Rio, an all-new bodyshell was created using a higher percentage of ultra high-strength steel (UHTS) than the third-generation model, enhancing the structure’s strength and rigidity. To improve progressive deformation during a frontal impact special attention was given to strengthening the engine-bay longitudinal side members, the fender apron and the transverse dashboard bulkhead to absorb and disperse forces more effectively.
The challenge of improving side impact protection, where crumple zones are much smaller, was tackled by fitting stronger side sill members made from roll-formed UHTS steel, with UHTS B-pillars and cross-members between the B-pillars at floor and roof level. For further protection, the front door interior trims are optimized with armrest and trim components designed to minimize and evenly spread loads.