Kia’s subcompact moves up in both looks and quality
It started life as a quirky, odd-looking conveyance that allowed its owner to getaround and nothing more. This was pretty much the story of the Rio. The first two generations of this Kia subcompact, which shares its genes with the Hyundai Accent,were no-frills and nondescript.
All this changed when the third iteration debuted in 2012. The body’s lines, especially on the hatchback variant, screamed poorman’s Audi or Volkswagen— and we mean that in a good way. Now, the latest fourth-generation Rio takes that even further as it enters the scene with a bolder, more premium vibe.
There is still a strong resemblance to the rest of Kia’s offerings, and even to the previous model. This time, however, the signature ‘tiger nose’ grille is a tad thinner. The same goes forthe swept-back headlamps with L-shaped LED DRLs. The sleek appearance is complemented by new foglamps and a larger lower intake on the front bumper.
The side profile and the rear end, too, are evolutionary in design. The former now has a discreet character line. The latter, on the other hand, features a more upright window and equally slim taillights.
Aside fromgetting wider (1,725mm), the car has like wise gotten longer by 15mm to 4,065mm, and the wheelbase has been increased by 10mm to 2,580mm. Moreover, the longer front hood and overhang give it more visual depth. Finally, the overhang at the back has been shortened, and that, along with the slimmer G-pillars, provides a more confident stance.
Kia claims that the bigger dimensions have paid off handsomely in the cabin. There is now more room, even for taller passengers. And the materials used are equally more upscale. There is even a large, eight-inch touchscreen infotainment interface nestled high up on the center of the dash. The cluster itself is angled toward the driver. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto — once exclusive to premium marques—are now available here. And there is a whole suite of safety gear, like autonomous emergency braking, to keep things in check.
As for engines, the 1.25- and 1.4-liter gasoline and the 1.4-liter diesel mills are carried over from the previous model. A new 1.0 -liter three-cylinder turbocharged T-GDI mill joins the fray, giving more power (up to 120hp) yet promising even better fuel economy.
Penned in Germany and California, the new Rio is a considerable step up to the subcompact class. With this, you hardly need anything more for the daily drive.