The Kia Rio name is refreshed in Malaysia with the new Kia Rio model being launched here in Malaysia on 7th September 2005.

[UPDATE: Read my test drive report on the Kia Rio 1.4]

The Rio transforms from a small stationwagon (sedan available too) to a sporty hatchback. We’ve not really seen much in the sporty hatchback segment below RM80,000 other than the Proton Satria and now Malaysians have an alternative choice. This Kia Rio shares the same platform with the Hyundai Accent.

Internationally, the Kia Rio is actually more well-known as a Sedan, and this hatchback variant that we have here in Malaysia is actually known as the Kia Rio5.

The new Rio comes with a 1.4 litre 16 valve DOHC engine making 94ps and a max torque of 124.5Nm. This engine is mated to a 4-speed automatic gearbox with eletronic management and adaptive control, which means it will learn your style of driving and change it’s shift patterns accordingly.

I’m a bit disappointed with the interior though… it looks a bit cheap.

Note that the 1.4 engine in the Rio needs a minimum of RON95 grade of petrol, so you can’t use the cheaper RON92 petrol still available at some petrol stations (Esso/Mobil Synergy Regular, Petronas Prima 92, etc) It needs a minimum of RON97 (Esso/Mobile Synergy F1, Petronas Primax, Shell Super/V Power)

The new Kia Rio costs RM75,000 and is available in four colours – Black, Orange, Sapphire and Silver.