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Shanghai show: Kia stages Rio sedan surprise

Rio in China: Kia's 'K2' sedan has made its global debut at the Shanghai show, and is set to go on-sale in the Chinese market from June this year.

Next-generation Kia Rio sedan emerges ahead of expectations in China

Kia logo19 Apr 2011

By MARTON PETTENDY

KIA’S next-generation Rio sedan has emerged a day before it was expected to debut at the New York motor show on April 20.

Kia says the all-new Rio-based ‘K2’ sedan, which made its global debut at the Shanghai motor show opening in today (April 19), was designed specifically for Chinese customers and will be produced in China from June.

However, the pint-sized new four-door provides vital clues to the look of the redesigned Rio sedan, which is expected to join the next-generation Rio hatchback on sale in Australia late this year.

The five-door Rio hatch debuted globally at the Geneva show last month and will go on sale here in the third quarter of this year.

A three-door Rio hatch will follow both new body styles on sale here in 2012, when Kia Motors Australia could also release the new-generation version of Kia’s even smaller city-car, the Picanto.

Borrowing plenty of styling elements from the new Optima medium sedan, which is called the K5 in other markets including China, the K2 is based on the new Rio hatch platform and will enter production at Dongfeng Yueda Kia’s factory in Jiangsu province in June, followed by the Rio hatch in August.

It features Kia’s signature ‘tiger nose’ grille, clever foglight treatment, back-swept headlights, a large air intake, side air-vents and a wedge-shaped profile with bold body-side surfacing. The three-box Rio adds a booted rear-end and two-tone bumper to the Rio hatch configuration.

Inside, the K2 presents a “driver-focussed futuristic” interior that “conveys a spacious and comfortable feeling” and features a three-cylinder ‘supervision instrument cluster’, cloth-trimmed door panels, leather-clad steering wheel and shifter, and keyless push-button starting.

Kia said the K2 will be positioned as a premium small car with advanced styling, quality and performance, and is expected to be highly competitive within a segment that accounts for 16 per cent of all new car sales in China.

It measures 4370mm long, 1700mm wide and 1460mm high, making it longer, wider and lower than the previous Rio sedan.

Kia says it also boasts the longest wheelbase in its class, at 2570mm, allowing the K2 to also offer “best-in-class” interior space and luggage capacity of 500 litres – matching Toyota’s Yaris sedan and bettering a Holden Commodore – augmented by a 60/40-split folding rear seatback.

In China, the K2 will be available in six trim levels with either 79kW 1.4-litre or 90kW 1.6-litre Gamma four-cylinder petrol engines, matched with manual or automatic transmissions.

Kia also claims the K2 will offer class-leading performance and fuel-efficiency, with the 1.4 manual returning an estimated 6.1L/100km (6.5/L/100km auto) and the auto-only 1.6 returning 6.4L/100km.

Said to represent the next phase in Kia’s “localisation growth strategy”, the K2 was jointly unveiled in Shanghai by Kia Motors and its Chinese joint-venture partner, Dongfeng Yueda Kia.

“We are confident that this all-new model for China will provide the momentum needed for Kia not only to remain as one of China’s fastest growing automotive brands but also to become a top 10 auto-maker in the local market in terms of quality and customer satisfaction,” said Kia Motors vice-chairman Hyoung-Keun Lee.

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