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Paris show: Kia reveals refreshed Rio

Nip and tuck: The styling differences to the 2015 Kia Rio are subtle, but include a redesigned grille and new front and rear bumpers.

Mid-cycle facelift for Kia Rio brings styling tweaks and cabin upgrade

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Kia logo29 Sep 2014

By TIM NICHOLSON

KIA has unveiled its refreshed Rio hatch, revealing subtle cabin upgrades and styling tweaks to the company's top-selling model, ahead of its arrival in Australia later this year.

The Korean-built city runabout gains a number of styling changes including an updated 'tiger-nose' grille, new front bumper and fog-lights to keep up the pressure on its competitors in the light-car segment.

Other changes to the exterior include a new rear bumper, three new alloy wheel designs and the addition of two new paint finishes – Urban Blue and Digital Yellow.

As previously reported, the Australian launch of the facelifted Rio will be split in two, with the base S and more highly specified S Premium arriving first in late November or early December.

The Si, SLi and Sport variants are set to arrive in January, to coincide with Kia's sponsorship of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne.

The cabin has also received some attention, with the Rio gaining chrome accents around the four airvents on the dash, while a new centre stack surrounds the audio system.

Kia says its top-spec variants will feature a new cloth trim as standard with the option of new grey faux leather upholstery.

There are no changes under the Rio's skin, with the 2015 version retaining the 79kW/135Nm 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine for the S and S Premium, which will be matched with a six-speed manual gearbox only for the S, while the S Premium will be offered in manual or four-speed automatic guise.

Higher grade variants continue with the 103kW/167Nm four-cylinder petrol unit, which is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Fuel consumption is not expected to change, which stands at 5.7 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle for the 1.4-litre manual, 6.3L/100km for the 1.4-litre auto and 6.1L/100km for the 1.6-litre auto.

European-spec versions gain some additions to on-board technology, such as a new DAB digital radio and the latest version of Kia's AVN (audio-video navigation) sat-nav with a 7.0-inch screen, however the Australian version will not be offered with these features.

Also left off the Australian equipment list is the second-generation version of Kia's idle-stop system, which will be available in some other markets.

Detailed specification and pricing will be confirmed closer to launch, but the hatch range currently kicks off from $15,290, plus on-road costs for the three-door 1.4-litre S and tops out at $19,990 for the 1.6-litre SLi.

The third-generation Rio launched in Australia in late 2011 and has been the South Korean brand's biggest seller each year since its arrival.

In year to date sales, the Rio is still Kia's best seller for 2013 with 5867 units registered, which is a 9.3 per cent drop over the same period last year.

The Rio trails the big guns of the segment this year, such as the Hyundai i20 (9788 sales), Mazda2 (8699 sales) and Toyota Yaris (8423 sales), which will all be replaced by new or facelifted models in the coming months.

The Yaris is on sale now, while the Mazda2 will be in local Mazda dealerships on November 1. The new-generation i20 is still being evaluated for Australia as Hyundai weighs up whether to source it from Turkey or India, but if it gets the green light is likely to arrive in the first half on next year.

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