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Paris show: Kia goes to Paris for Rio games

Paris match: Kia’s fourth-generation Kia will be available only as a five-door hatch, with Kia Motors Australia confirming that the three-door version is over and out.

All-new Kia Rio to kick off in Paris ahead of probable Australian Open debut


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25 Aug 2016

KIA has chosen next month’s Paris motor show for the global launch of its top-selling model, the Rio, ahead of the light hatchback’s Australian debut early next year, almost certainly at the Kia-sponsored Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne.

While the all-new fourth-generation light hatchback is still six months from local launch, it has been here for some time in secret chassis tuning by Kia Motors Australia’s (KMAu) engineering team.

That localisation work is in its latter stages, with final sign off of the Australia specification imminent ahead of the production kick off in South Korea either late this year or early 2017.

In announcing plans for the Paris unveiling overnight, Kia released three sketches of the Rio, revealing evolutionary design advances and – potentially – a bigger, more spacious body graced with LED daytime running lights and tail-lights, plus Kia’s signature ‘tiger nose’ grille above a gaping front air intake.

Massive alloy wheels have zero chance of making it on to the production version, but the black rear ‘diffuser’ looks like the real deal.

Only the five-door configuration was shown, with KMAu general manager of media and corporate communications Kevin Hepworth later confirming that the low-selling three-door hatch would follow the Rio sedan into oblivion next time.

The current sedan was ditched in June, while the three door is only available from the factory in Korea on dealer order.

Penned at Kia’s design studios in German and California, the new Rio sits on a longer wheelbase and gets a longer front overhang and bonnet and more upright C-pillar, for a look that Kia describes as “more confident and balanced”.

“The all-new Rio will offer buyers class-leading practicality and safety technology, the latest connectivity features and more assured and engaging ride and handling characteristics,” Kia said it in the guff accompanying the images.

Globally, the Rio is Kia’s best-selling vehicle, racking up 473,000 sales in 2015.

In Australia this year, the outgoing Rio has achieved 4166 sales – up 17.3 per cent on the same period of last year – making its number three in Kia sales, trailing the new Cerato (7380) and Sportage (6247).

With the model changeover approaching, the current model is being heavily discounted, with the three-door base variant offered for just $13,990 driveaway, and the five-door auto for $16,990 driveaway.

Meanwhile, Kia Motors Australia has again ruled out the plug-in hybrid version the mid-sized Optima sedan, even though it has just been introduced in right-hand drive form in the United Kingdom.

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