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AIMS: Kia gets ready to Rio

Slick: Kia Rio has stepped up the style ladder with its forthcoming new Rio light-sized car.

Wraps come off Kia’s redesigned Rio two months early in Melbourne

1 Jul 2011

KIA Motors Australia used today’s Melbourne motor show opening to announce full details – except for all-important pricing – of the replacement for its smallest and biggest selling model, the all-new Rio.

First seen at the Geneva show in March, Kia’s stylish new fourth-generation five-door hatchback will arrive in Australian showrooms by September, followed by four-door sedan (as seen at April’s New York show) and, for the first time, yet-to-appear three-door hatch body styles early next year.

The specification line-up for the latter two derivatives will be a condensed version of the volume-selling UB-series five-door model range, which Kia today confirmed will include three equipment grades and both 1.4-litre and direct-injection 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engines matched with manual and automatic transmissions.

There will be no 1.2-litre petrol engine and nor will Europe’s 1.1 and 1.4-litre diesel engines be available for the Rio in Australia.

Kia’s outgoing Rio - stocks of which are now thin on the ground, resulting in a 23 per cent sales slide to May this year – is powered by port-injection 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol engines.

However, while the new Rio’s 1.4 petrol engine will soldier on with a four-speed automatic transmission, it will also be available with a six-speed manual while the new 1.6 will match Holden’s next Barina by offering both six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.

The Rio’s 1.4 DOHC MPI engine features continuous variable valve timing to produce 79kW at 6300rpm (up from 71kW) and 135Nm of torque from 4200rpm (up from 125Nm).

17 center imageKia says the base Rio’s target CO2 emissions figure is 133 grams per kilometre, which would place it among the top 15 in the federal government’s Green Vehicle Guide.

Meantime, the 1.6 GDi Gamma engine features dual continuous variable valve timing, a variable induction system and exotic anti-friction measures – including CrN Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) and Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coatings.

The result is 103kW at 6300rpm (up from 82kW) and 167Nm at 4850rpm - 13 per cent more than the 145Nm delivered by the Rio’s previous MPI Gamma 1.6.

Preliminary efficiency figures are listed at 5.7 litres per 100km and 135g/km for the 1.4 manual, 6.3L/100km and 150g/km for the 1.4 auto, 5.6L/100km and 133g/km for the 1.6 manual and 6.1L/100km and 145g/km for the 1.6 auto.

At the same time, the entry-level Rio has a claimed 0-100km/h acceleration time of 11.5 seconds (13.2 seconds auto), while the 1.6 completes the sprint in 10.2 seconds (10.3 auto). Top speeds are stated at 183km/h for the 1.4 manual (170km/h auto) and 190km/h for both 1.6s.

Kia says that as with the Sorento, Cerato, Sportage and Optima, the new Rio has benefited from a local ride and handling optimisation program, including “comprehensive local testing and fine-tuning to ensure responsive handling while maintaining stability, ride quality and refinement – in line with the discerning Australian customer’s expectations.”

New Rio running gear includes electric power-assisted rack and pinion steering (delivering a tight 10.52-metre turning circle and 2.82 turns lock-to-lock) , MacPherson strut front suspension and coupled torsion beam axle (CTBA) rear suspension.

The Rio’s all-disc braking system comprises 256x22 vented front and 262x10mm solid rear rotors for S and Si variants, while the flagship SLi will come with 280x22mm vented front and 262x10mm solid rear discs.

Other safety features include Kia’s latest Vehicle Stability Management system including electronic stability control, ABS brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, emergency brake assist and hill-start assist control (HAC).

All new Rios will come standard with six airbags, including twin front, front-side and side curtains.

The base wheel size will be 15x5.5-inch with 185/65-section tyres and a full-size spare, while the new Rio’s exterior paint colour palette will comprise 10 hues and interior colour and trim schemes will include Latte, Rich Caramel and Graphite Grey.

The standard equipment list will extend to a height and reach-adjustable steering wheel, seatbelt reminders for al occupants, body-coloured exterior door-handles and (heated) mirrors, a rear spoiler, chromed grille, twin front vanity mirrors, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, four-function trip computer, variable windscreen wipers, four power windows, manual air-conditioning and a four-speaker AM/FM/MP3/CD player with USB/AUX/iPod and Bluetooth connectivity and remote controlsThe new Rio will come with the option of luxury car features like LED daytime running lights, LED tail-lights, 16 and 17-inch alloy wheels (the latter with low-profile 205/45 Continental tyres), projection headlights, foglights, front cornering lamps, climate-control air-conditioning, cruise control and a ‘Supervision’ cluster with dot-matrix display.

As we’ve reported, the new Rio model is longer (by 55mm), wider (by 25mm) and lower (by15mm) than before, and rides on a 70mm-longer (2570mm) wheelbase, increasing passenger and (288-litre) cargo space despite featuring one of the lowest roof heights in the Kia range (1455mm).

Presented at the Australian International Motor Show, where two of its chief rivals in Holden’s new Barina and Toyota’s new Yaris also debuted, the new Rio falls into line with Kia’s striking new design language with a bold, aerodynamic front-end, sleek roofline and taut overall proportions.

Inside, the Rio features a ‘three cylinder’ instrument cluster as seen in other newly launched Kias, but adds a bank of centrally-located toggle switches to the central heater unit to control some secondary functions.

Kia says its new Rio combines European flair and Australian driveability with Korean spice, while setting a new packaging benchmark in the light-car class.

“The Kia Rio has always been successful, and with this new incarnation we have a car which is extremely attractive with a fresh feeling of sportiness – a car that people will want to buy for its looks, as well as its environmental credentials,” said Kia Motors Australia CEO MK Kim.

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