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2017 Kia Rio revealed – key details announced

The 2017 Kia Rio will arrive Down Under early next year (2017) with the Korean car maker announcing key details.

THE 2017 KIA RIO drops its tiny-tot design in favour of a style that helps to make it look bigger than it actually is. And lavishing attention on the Rio is vital for the Korean car maker as it’s its best-selling model around the world.

The fourth-generation Rio, claims Kia “will offer B-segment buyers a compelling package, with an attractive new design, high practicality and convenience, class-first safety technology, new connectivity features and more engaging ride and handling”.

At the front the new Rio wears Kia’s next-generation ‘Tiger Nose’ grille which is integrated with the new-look “bi-function headlights” which have been shaped for a “sharper look”. They feature a U-shaped LED daytime running light signature.

The new Rio gets a 10mm longer wheelbase (up to 2580mm), a thinner, more upright C-pillar, and a shorter rear overhang. Overall, the new car is 15mm longer than its predecessor, at 4065mm in length, and 5mm lower (now 1450mm tall). Wheels will range from 15- to 17-inches.

Leg room grows to 1120mm in the front and 770mm in the rear, while shoulder room grows to 1375mm in the front and 1355mm in the rear. Despite the new Rio being 5mm shorter in height than the outgoing model, front and rear headroom are 1021mm and 966mm respectively.

Like the outside, the inside has come in for an overhaul with the designers aiming to accentuate the width of the car via elements like horizontal air vents, a visual trick plenty of car makers, like Audi, also employ. The dashboard itself, is angled towards the driver “which provides the car with a sportier, more driver-focused design and a more premium character”.

Smack in the centre is a new “floating” touchscreen, or human-machine interface in car-speak. Kia has reduced the number of switches and dials, but left the climate control functionality alone.

The touch screen is standard at 5-inches but a cost optional 7-inch unit is available and it offers Android Auto and Apple Car Play connectivity.

New Rio will be available with keyless entry and ignition, heated seats and steering wheel, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, and automatic headlamps. The new model is also available with Automatic Cruise Control, with a speed limiter, and Rear Park Assist with a rear view camera.

Kia claims its concentrated on improving the practicality of the small car’s interior. At the base of the centre console is an open double tray to store mobile devices and other small items, and the overhead console includes an area to store sunglasses. The glove compartment is a single-box shape. The new Rio has bottle holders in every door and can accommodate 1.5-litre bottles in the front and 500ml bottles in the rear of the car and two larger cupholders in the front. The Rio will offer USB outlets in the front and back.

The boot has increased by 37 litres to 325 litres. The new Rio features a split-level boot floor, which enables owners to change the height of the boot floor to fit items under the floor to prevent objects rolling around, or to keep them out of sight. The fuel tank, which is located under the rear bench, is 45 litres, two litres larger than the earlier model. The new Rio is fitted with six airbags throughout the cabin, as well as ISOFIX child-seat tether and anchor points for rear passenger seats.

In Europe, at least, the Rio will be offered with a range of petrol and diesel engines, but the one most likely to make its way Down Under is the 1.4-litre four-cylinder which offers up to 132Nm of torque.

Kia announced its targeting a five-star EuroNCAP rating for the Rio and will offer it with a cost-optional Advanced Driver Assistance System which will feature Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian recognition. The Rio’s AEB system uses a long-range radar detection system to detect potential collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians. AEB is paired with a Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), which alerts the driver if they stray out of their lane on the road without the use of indicators.

Kia is hoping key improvements to the Rio will make it more enjoyable to drive and, to that end it gets a “more rigid front suspension struts and cross member and a raised rear torsion beam for high-speed stability; the adoption of new vertical rear shock absorbers and front shock absorbers with pre-loaded linear valve technology, both resulting in more linear handling and suspension response over broken road surfaces; and a repositioned power steering gearbox, to enable greater ‘on-centre’ feel through the steering wheel. The changes to the chassis are designed to endow the Rio with more immediate handling responses and improve the level of confidence that the driver has behind the wheel.”

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober