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It’s not a surprise that the third-generation Kia Rio is coming to Malaysia, but what’s less known is when exactly will it arrive. Unveiled at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the Rio five-door hatchback has been spotted testing on our roads as early as March this year.

We also shared with you pics of taped up examples in July and earlier this month. Officially, Kia Malaysia teased the Rio with multi-colour stripes at the COTY2U Autoshow 2012.

Well, there’s not long left to wait now. The new Kia Rio will be launching in Malaysia in January 2013, which is just around the corner, according to our sources. The UB will be available here in five-door hatchback form, powered by a 1.4 litre MPI Gamma engine. The DOHC with CVVT unit makes 109 PS and 136 Nm of torque. A four-speed automatic gearbox is the drivetrain partner.

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The B-segment Rio has grown, and the new one’s wheelbase has been extended by 70 mm – to 2,570 mm – while the boot carries a decent 288 litres. Exterior dimensions changes include an increase of 55 mm in overall length and 25 mm in overall width, though height has been reduced by 15 mm, which explains the sportier stance.

Two trim levels will be available – EX and SX. Both get LED daytime running lights, electric folding and adjustable wing mirrors with LED signal lamps, a stereo system with MP3/AUX/RDS/six-speakers, aluminium pedals, tilt/telescopic steering, leather wrapped steering with audio controls, Bluetooth, six airbags (front, side, curtain), ISOFIX and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM).

The higher SX spec car adds on front fog lamps, sunroof, Kia’s “Supervision cluster” instrument panel, auto air-con with ionizer and Smart Key with push start button, making it very richly equipped for a B-segment car.

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Kia is very proud of the new Rio’s design, which is a winner at the acclaimed 2012 reddot design awards. Here’s what reddot had to say about the Rio:

“The Kia Rio has design features that give it a confident and powerful personality. From a side perspective, the distinct wedge shape and sporty window graphics contribute to the dynamic appearance of the car. Its profile, with a special ratio of metal and glass, along with its low roofline result in a sporting silhouette. The commensurate balance of window graphics, wheelbase and overall proportions creates a premium presence surpassing other vehicles in the B segment.”

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In conjunction with the Rio’s launch, Kia Malaysia has set up the Rio Runabout contest, where one lucky winner will drive away with the new Rio. There are also other prizes up for grabs in the contest, which throws up word puzzles for you to solve.

Solved puzzles will earn you pictures, and the first 10 players to collect six pictures will win invites to the Rio launch party. Then, a final challenge will determine the winner of the grand prize.

A new car is up for grabs, so no further motivation needed, we presume. Go to kiario.my/riorunabout for more info and to join the contest. Stay tuned for more!