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Geneva show: Kia unveils next-generation Rio

Rio: The latest iteration of Kia's popular small-car is another stylish new product from the Korean manufacturer.

Rio “combines European finesse with Korean spice” to continue Kia design revolution

11 Feb 2011

THE NEXT-generation Kia Rio will make its world premiere at the Geneva International Motor Show on March 1, with Australian release expected in the third-quarter of this year.

The latest in an array of stylish new products from the Korean manufacturer will feature a continuation of the brand’s distinctive new styling theme, spearheaded by former Audi designer Peter Schreyer.

It has a variation of the now-familiar signature ‘pinched’ grille design, bringing the car into line with much of Kia’s new range. The large, angular headlamps and a prominent ‘wedge’ running along the doors accentuate the premium look of the car.

The new Rio will be available globally in both 3- and 5-dr hatch as well as a sedan variant, though at this stage it is unknown if all of these will be available here. Kia says the newly-designed interior will feature improved quality and a more expensive feel.

It will be lower and wider than the model it is set to replace, giving the car a more aggressive stance. The wheelbase will be 70mm longer, promising more legroom, and cargo capacity will be bigger in both sedan (390 litres) and hatch versions (292 litres).

While local powertrains are not yet confirmed, the Rio will be available internationally with six engines ranging from a 1.1-litre, 51.5kW diesel to a 103kW 1.6-litre petrol.

Kia’s director of overseas marketing, Soon-Nam Lee, believes the new model is stylistically a big step forward for the brand.

“The Rio has always been successful”, he said, “and with this new incarnation we have a car which is extremely attractive, that people will want to buy for its looks.”

The current Rio is by far Kia’s top-selling model in Australia, with 9052 sold last year.

Internationally Kia has sold more than 860,000 Rios since the model was launched in 2005. The South Korean brand has enjoyed strong sales growth both domestically and internationally so far this year, with its Australian results up 12.7% year-on-year in in January.

Geneva will also see Kia release its next-generation Picanto city-car, as well as the European debut of the Optima hybrid. The diminutive new Picanto is under serious consideration for a local launch, and would face-off against the likes of Holden’s Barina Spark and Suzuki’s Alto should it land on our shores.

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