The all-new 2017 Kia Rio was revealed to the world early this month, but the details accompanying the photos were scarce, to put it mildly. Now, the South Korean carmaker has released the floodgates of information regarding its new B-segment hatchback – which is expected to go on sale across Europe in the first quarter of 2017 – ahead of its world premiere at the 2016 Paris Motor Show next week.

Designed in Germany and California, the new Rio differs from the rounded bean-like predecessor with a more conventional two-box profile and a longer bonnet. This is likely to ensure that the sedan version will feature more balanced proportions this time around, as it looks rather ungainly in its current iteration.

At the front, there’s a new, thinner and broader “tiger nose” grille with a gloss black cover, flanked by sharper headlights with U-shaped LED daytime running lights. Meanwhile, the massive lower grille has been made to look more aggressive, while the fog lights have been pushed outwards and upwards to increase visual width.


The rear end has been made more upright, and the C-pillar is thinner than on the current Rio. The tail lights are now trapezoidal in shape and feature arrow-shaped LED light signatures; together with the large black plastic valence, it’s almost Mazda 2-like in look. Horizontal lines along the sides – including a strong shoulder line – emphasises the added length.

How much longer? The new Rio is 15 mm longer at 4,065 mm, with 10 mm going towards the 2,580 mm wheelbase; the overhangs are longer at the front and shorter at the rear to give a more balanced stance. The new car is also 5 mm wider (1,725 mm) and lower (1,450 mm).

Inside, the Rio gets a more sculpted, ergonomic interior, with horizontal lines making it feel wider. The centre console is angled towards the driver and sports a “floating” infotainment system; below it, the button count has been reduced, and the climate control switchgear get a more ergonomic concave design.


Available infotainment systems include one with a 5.0-inch touchscreen, as well as a navigation system with a 7.0-inch touchscreen – the latter comes with Kia Connected Services (free for seven years in Europe) as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Kia claims the Rio is the first B-segment car to feature USB ports at the front and rear, although Proton would likely disagree

Other optional features include keyless entry, push-button start, automatic wipers and headlights, heated seats and steering wheel, Rear Park Assist with a rear-view camera and Automatic Cruise Control with a speed limiter. Buyers can also specify a Red Pack that adds red faux leather upholstery, as well as a centre console box with an armrest for increased storage space.

Interior space has been improved, partly due to a larger body, but also due to clever repackaging such as reprofiled door trims, new headlining materials as well as a revised dashboard design; thinner C-pillars and new door mirrors relocated to the base of the A-pillar also improve outward visibility. Boot space has been increased some 37 litres to 325 litres, despite a shorter rear overhang.

Engine options include a 1.0 litre T-GDI turbo three-cylinder petrol from the facelifted cee’d, producing 98 hp at 4,500 rpm and 172 Nm of torque between 1,500 and 4,000 rpm; the high-output variant bumps power up to 118 hp at 6,000 rpm. Both engines are expected to produce carbon dioxide emissions under the 100 grammes per kilometre mark, reduced even further with the Idle Stop and Go (ISG) system.

Also offered will be an 82 hp/122 Nm 1.25 litre and 90 hp/132 Nm 1.4 litre naturally-aspirated four-pot petrols, as well as a 1.4 litre turbodiesel in either 69 hp or 88 hp variants – both targeting under 90 grammes per kilometre of CO2 emissions with ISG. The 1.25 litre and 98 hp 1.0 litre mills will come with a five-speed manual transmission, while the 1.4 litre and 118 hp 1.0 litre engines will get a six-speed ‘box.

Under the skin, there’s a stiffer bodyshell and a retuned suspension system, with revised spring and damper rates giving the car improved compliance and comfort at all speeds, as well as more engaging handling. The front suspension struts and crossmember is more rigid, and the rear torsion beam has been raised for improved high-speed stability.


Elsewhere, there are new vertical rear dampers and front dampers with pre-loaded linear valve technology, providing more linear handling and steering response over rough roads; the repositioned power steering gearbox, on the other hand, improves on-centre steering feel. All these improvements are designed to improve handling response and inspire confidence behind the wheel.

Safety-wise, the Rio will be offered with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), including Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection – the latter is claimed to be the first in the segment – and a Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS). The body makes significant use (51% versus 33% on the current model) of Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS), increasing occupant safety.