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Kia goes to Rio

More space: Kia's all-new Rio will be offered in four and five-door configurations only.

Kia will launch a new entry level contender in mid-July

Kia logo23 Jun 2000

KIA will make its debut in the bargain-basement segment on July 15, when it launches its all-new Rio.

The newcomer is the third-generation in a series of compact cars made by the South Korean manufacturer. The first two iterations were sold here as the Ford Festiva.

This time around Kia is opting to sell the car with its own badge.

Pricing for the Rio - to be offered in four and five-door forms only - is likely to start around $14,990.

Kia says it is not offering a three-door version as such a configuration would hamper its ability to provide "versatile and flexible transport".

"We believe that the interest in the Kia Rio will be so great that we have delayed the launch by two weeks to ensure that every Kia dealer in Australia is fully stocked with the new Kia Rio," the managing director of Kia Automotive Australia, Mr Ric Hull, says.

The introduction of the GST on July 1 has prompted several car-makers to delay the launch of their models to benefit from the new tax regime. "We believe that the Rio is such a strong product that we are happy for customers to look at what our competitors have to offer and then come to see the Rio," Mr Hull says.

Equipment levels will be generous with power steering, air-conditioning and a driver airbag included as standard.

Just one engine will be available, a 1.5-litre unit that generates 73.5kW at 5800rpm and 135Nm at 4500rpm.

This should endow the newcomer with respectable, if not class-leading, performance.

Kia says the Rio can accelerate from standstill to 100km/h in 11.3 seconds.

Among the Rio's safety features are air-filled impact-absorbing bumpers.

These contain air-filled bladders that in low-speed impacts simply compress the air to absorb energy and in high-speed accidents progressively burst to absorb more energy.

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