Freshened: KIA Rio gains electric power, new tech & design

KIA Rio

“KIA has announced upgrades to its fourth-generation KIA hatchback. These include refreshed interior and exterior designs and a mild-hybrid motor.”

KIA has freshened its Rio hatchback with significant upgrades to its exterior and interior design in addition to safety and infotainment technologies. The new model will also be power by a 48V mild-hybrid motor mated to KIA’s new clutch-by-wire manual transmission.

KIA retained the Rio’s tiger grille and for a much more focused appearance, the grille is matched by a low and wide front bumper and new fog lamp housings. These changes give the front of the car a smoother, yet more purposeful appearance, imbuing it with a more confident stance on the road. All models now feature new full LED headlamps with integral running lights. Depending on market and specification, new Perennial Grey and Sporty Blue colours have been also added. Finishing off the look, the imminent KIA Rio is equipped with new 8-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels.

A number of visual, material and technological updates that enhanced interior quality can also be seen within the KIA Rio. These include a new larger 8-inch widescreen infotainment panel and a high-resolution 4.2-inch digital instrument cluster. Also depending on market and vehicle specification, a new blue colour pack is available. The option adds a dash of colour and flair to the cabin, with coloured seat bolsters, dashboard and door armrests, matched with contrast stitching. GT-Line models are offered with a black single-tone interior with white contrast piping and stitching on the seats, and a carbon fibre-effect dashboard for added visual impact. Both standard and GT Line models are now equipped with driver and optional front passenger seat height adjustability, helping front-seat occupants find their ideal position.

Standard model interior

The upgraded touchscreen display offers model specific audio or navigation controls. As with modern technology, features such as Bluetooth multi-connection of up to two devices. It also features a multi-screen function which allows users to control or monitor different vehicle features at the same time, customising the screen with a series of different widgets. The system offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on models equipped with the new 8-inch Display Audio system, negating the need for many owners to connect their smartphone via a cable.

GT Line interior

Compatible with Android and Apple smartphones, the KIA Rio is equipped with UVO Connect Phase II which gives the driver access to a range of on-board services including POIs and its prices, weather forecast and fuel price just to name a few. The system also features Online Voice Recognition, supported by server technologies, which lets users give voice commands, hands-free, to search for nearby POIs, addresses, weather updates, or send text messages.

The upgraded fourth-generation KIA Rio will gain a new mild-hybrid petrol powertrain in the form of an EcoDynamics+ 1.0-litre T-GDi turbocharged engine. The system supplements the engine’s torque output with power from a compact 48-volt lithium-ion polymer battery and extends engine ‘off time’ with a new Mild-Hybrid Starter-Generator (MHSG) unit. Replacing the Kappa engine, the new Smartstream engine produces 74kW or 88kW with higher peak torque of 200Nm for 88kW variants.

Mated to the KIA Rio’s Smartstream engine are new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and an intelligent manual transmission with what KIA calls a clutch-by-wire system that also contributes in fuel efficiency and MHEV system. Instead of a mechanical linkage, the iMT’s clutch is controlled purely electronically. It integrates seamlessly with the MHSG to switch off the engine when coasting to a halt, improving overall fuel efficiency.

The upgraded Rio features several of KIA’s latest Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS), such as Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with a pedestrian, vehicle and newly introduced cyclist recognition, Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), and Blind Spot Collision Warning (BCW). Furthermore, the Rio now offers several new active safety systems to enhance occupant safety. The upgraded Rio features several of KIA’s latest Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS), such as Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with a pedestrian, vehicle and newly introduced cyclist recognition, Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), and Blind Spot Collision Warning (BCW). Furthermore, the Rio now offers several new active safety systems to enhance occupant safety.


Information contained in this article is based on the Euro-spec KIA Rio. More information on the South African spec Rio will be released closer to its S.A. launch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: