The fourth-generation Kia Rio facelift has finally been spotted, and this heavily camouflaged prototype mule suggests that the mid-life revision may be quite an extensive one at that. According to our sources, the facelift will get a new CVT gearbox that replaces the six-speed auto which was introduced in 2018, while engine options are said to remain the same.

There’s no telling just how significant the styling changes are with all the blacked out exterior panels, but expect the B-segment hatch to get a heavily revised front face, new headlights with LED DRLs, Kia’s more aggressive Tiger Nose grille, and a range of new wheel designs. Expect the rear end to get new tail lights and bumper design as well, although the addition of a powered tailgate may be too big of an ask at this juncture.

Our spy photographers couldn’t get close enough to get a peek of the cabin, but it’s safe to assume that some of the gadgetries in the Seltos may find its way here. That potentially includes an updated instrument cluster with either a 3.5- or seven-inch digital multi-info display, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and a larger touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionalities.

For powertrain, the range-topping choice is the 1.0 litre three-cylinder T-GDI petrol engine that makes 118 hp and 171 Nm of torque, while the other turbocharged option is the 1.4 CRDi diesel mill making 90 hp and 240 Nm of torque. Other markets get the carryover 1.4 litre MPI engine that’s tuned to make 100 hp and 133 Nm of torque, or a tinier 1.25 litre MPI engine. Transmission options are a six-speed manual, six-speed auto, or Kia’s seven-speed dual-clutch auto.

Now, more interestingly, Kia may be planning to introduce a crossover version of the Rio, positioned as the second subcompact crossover model after the Stonic. This is a response to growing demand for taller-riding cars, and word is it may possibly called the Xrio. Apparently, crossovers are in such a demand in Europe that Kia’s COO, Emilio Herrera added: “Booming XCeed sales would make a strong case for a sporty Rio-based SUV. Nothing is decided, but that’s a decision on the table right now.”