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Updated Kia Rio lands in Oz

Seoul searching: Kia, South-Korea's second largest auto-maker, has brought its slightly updated and revised small-car Rio to the Australian market, but top-of-the-range variants are still months away.

Small changes to Kia's Rio range, sedan axed and top-spec variant still months away


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22 Jan 2015

KIA has updated its Rio light car line-up for 2015, adding the new mid-range S Premium variant to the little hatch stable, along with model-wide styling updates and increased occupant comfort.

Production constraints have delayed higher specification variants arriving along with the S Premium, but unlike imminent SLi and Sport (replacing SLS) versions of the hatchback, no variants of the sedan will be making a return to Australian soil.

The South-Korean car-maker has confirmed that its Rio four-door sedan has been slowly wound down and will no longer be available here after importation ceased and special orders dried up.

The new Rio S Premium sits above the entry level S, sharing its 79kW/135Nm 1.4-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine, but gains 15-inch alloy wheels, front fog lamps, electric folding side mirrors, cruise control, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, while dual tweeters enhance a six-speaker audio system.

The five-door-only S Premium will sit $700 above the equivalent Rio S – which starts at $15,990 before on-roads for the three-door and $16,990 for the five-door, both with a six-speed manual gearbox – pricing the newest Rio addition at $17,690. A four-speed automatic transmission is available for both variants for an additional $2000.

Out-going range-topping three-door SLS and five-door SLi versions won't be replaced yet, and a Kia Motors Australia spokesperson confirmed the updated top-spec variants will launch “sometime in the next couple of months.” citing the reason for delay as “simply a production situation at the moment.” Until the replacement SLS and SLi variants arrive, the new Si will hold the flagship title.

For $21,490, the Rio Si is exclusively a six-speed automatic, five-door affair, replacing the engine with a more powerful 1.6-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder, good for 103kW of power and 167Nm of torque, while retaining all the kit and creature comforts of its lower-spec siblings.

On the outside, the changes to the 2015 Rio include redesigned front and rear bumpers, a new front grille pattern and metallic finish headlights, while the Si gets sportier 16-inch alloy wheels in place of the 15-inch hoops fitted to the S Premium or steel versions of the same size in the case of S variants.

The interior also receives a refresh, gaining a new centre console design complete with a redesigned audio unit and greater comfort in Si versions thanks to soft touch trim, sliding centre armrest and central storage bin.

Kia has also added a new Urban Blue colour option to the Rio line-up and the claims to have cut noise, vibration and harshness levels through a 'localisation program' that has tweaked its chassis for Australian conditions.

“Ride comfort and control have been improved while steering feel has been moved to a new level,” according to Kia.

Sales of the Rio slowed in 2014, with the South-Korean car-maker managing to move 7925 units of its small-car, a 13.5 per cent drop compared to the 9160 Rios sold in 2013.

Kia Rio pricing*
S (a)$17,990
S (a)$18,990
S Premium$17,690
S Premium (a)$19,690
Si (a)$21,490
*Excludes on-road costs.

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