RAC Cars News


New Kia Rio set to take on the VW Polo and Ford Fiesta

By raccars Published

Kia Rio

The 2017 Kia Rio previewed. Does Fiesta need to watch out for the new Korean supermini?

The first official design sketches of the new Kia Rio have been released and it looks set to go head-to-head with the new VW Polo and Ford Fiesta.

The fourth-generation Kia Rio supermini will make its debut at the much-awaited Paris motor show 2016. Left hand drive production is set to start this autumn, whilst early 2017 should see the start of sales in the UK.

The Rio is Kia’s best-selling model and over 473,000 were built during 2015. This is why the manufacturers have gone all-out with its replacement.

The design is a truly global affair, with input coming from locations as diverse as California, Germany and Korea. This aims to ensure that it will continue to have global appeal.

Design glimpses of the new Kia

The official design sketches show the new Rio boasts a longer wheelbase to create more interior space and a rakish roofline, together with an upright, stout, Audi-like C-pillar and a stretched bonnet.

The manufacturers claim that the new Kia will offer ‘class-leading’ safety technology and practicality, updated connectivity features and handling and ride characteristics that are more ‘engaging’ and ‘assured’.

The new Rio is expected to be available only as a five-door model when it is launched and will feature the car’s trademark ‘Tiger nose’ grill. Other design features will include upswept, angular headlights and deep air intakes at the front.

Five-door Kia’s have consistently proved most popular in the past. Between July last year and July 2016, 88 per cent of all Rio’s sold had five doors.

The new Picanto also looks set to be launched as a five-door vehicle only, highlighting a growing trend within the industry to abandon three-door model designs.

The car’s rear has plenty of sporty touches, ranging from a subtle spoiler to LEDs housed within an angular tail-light design.

The large alloy wheels pictured in the design sketches will probably not be featured in the production model when it appears at the Paris motor show.

Inside the 2017 Kia Rio

Inside the new Kia Rio, there appears to be an uncluttered dashboard, offering a mixture of dark and light materials and sweeping lines. Metal trim has also been used to highlight interior features, including the centre console.

There is also an obvious mirroring of exterior details. The air vents and dashboard panels, for example, have an angular design reflective of that in the tail-lights.

The new Kia looks set to sport a large touchscreen dominating the dashboard, although full details are not revealed in the design sketches.

Engine choices and price tag

Kia has yet to release details of the new model’s engine choices, although it is probably safe to expect a 1.1-litre diesel and 1.4 and 1.25-litre petrol engines. Both the new Kia and the new Picanto also appear to have the option of a new three-cylinder, turbocharged 1.0-litre engine, already seen in the Cee’d.

Specs are expected to continue Kia’s usual 1, 2, 3 and 4 line-up. There is also the chance of a sporty, high-spec GT Line trim.

It is believed that a new Rio GT will be launched in the future to take on the Ford Fiesta ST and the hot hatch looks set to feature the turbocharged, 1.4-litre petrol engine which Kia unveiled last year.

The price of the new Rio is expected to be higher than the current five-door models, which have a £10,945 starting price tag. It is thought that the new model will have a starting price closer to £11,500.

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