Car News

Kia Rio to get hybrid power and comprehensive tech upgrade for 2021

Kia’s Rio hatchback has been shown with a big tech improvement on the current iteration.

Kia has revealed an upgraded Rio hatchback in South Korea overnight.

The new model brings a swathe of additions over the current fourth-generation model on sale in Australia, with better safety technology and a new mild-hybrid powerplant.

The new safety systems include AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with steering assist, traffic sign recognition with speed limited, and blind-spot monitoring.

Along with safety tech is a boost to in-car connectivity. The new 8.0-inch infotainment system brings wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual Bluetooth, split-screen display and live traffic updates on the in-built sat-nav. There’s also a new 4.2-inch screen in the driver’s cluster for digital readout.

Other changes include a facelift with the brand’s tiger-nose grille, new LED headlights, and revised taillights. There’s also a new set of 16-inch alloys underneath the wheel arches along with minor running changes.

Upfront a new engine has been introduced, the Slipstream 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine deploying a mild 48volt hybrid belt-generator system with a lithium-ion battery to produce 88kW and 200Nm. Charging of the battery is regenerative when coasting and braking so you don’t plug it in.

There’s also a new Smartstream 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine producing 62kW, and the five-speed manual transmission has been replaced with a six-speed unit.

Kia Australia is planning on introducing the facelifted fourth-gen Rio here this year, though timing and specifications – such as if we will get the new hybrid – are yet to be confirmed.

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Alex Rae

Alex Rae