Kia Rio 1.4 SX Facelift 1

Alongside the Kia Cerato Koup, the Kia On Tour roadshow in 1 Utama also saw the debut of the facelifted Kia Rio, which is now available in showrooms starting from today. The updated third-gen UB hatch is sold here in top-spec 1.4 SX trim only (retailing at the same RM79,080 as before, inclusive of insurance and GST), ditching the previous entry-level EX.

So what does one get for one’s money? The same as before, actually – standard kit includes projector halogen headlights with LED daytime running lights, LED tail lights, auto lights and wipers, keyless entry, push-button start, a Supervision instrument cluster, single-zone automatic air conditioning with a cluster ioniser, a multifunction leather steering wheel, a sunroof and alloy foot pedals.

The generous safety equipment from the outgoing model has also been carried over, so you get six airbags, ABS, stability control and Isofix child seat anchors on the outer rear seats.

Kia Rio 1.4 SX Facelift 15

Also unchanged is what’s under the bonnet – the 1.4 litre Gamma CVVT four-cylinder mill makes 109 PS at 6,300 rpm and 137 Nm at 4,200 rpm, sent to the front wheels via a four-speed automatic transmission.

What is new, however, is a redesigned front fascia with a broader lower grille, flanked by projector fog lights sitting inside reshaped surrounds with twin strakes. At the rear, a reshaped bumper incorporated a wider black insert with vertical fog lights, replacing the previous diffuser-like valence and horizontal fogs.

Kia Rio 1.4 SX Facelift 42

Like the facelifted Optima K5, the new Rio ditches the distinctive flat-dish wheels of old, going for a very Citroën DS-like four-split-spoke 17-inch design instead.

Inside, the changes are much more subtle – there’s a mildly-redesigned head unit with seek and folder scrolling buttons moved up to flank the monochrome LCD screen, allowing all the preset buttons to sit in one row (previously two). Next to it, you’ll notice that the previous cubby hole and seat belt indicator panel have disappeared; the latter now sits in between the middle air vents, which feature a new silver surround.