The 2017 Kia Rio will soon be in Malaysia, with the fourth-generation hatchback expected to arrive in the second quarter of the year. But, despite having a complete exterior and interior overhaul, the B-segment hatch will retain its mechanical package – a 109 PS/137 Nm 1.4 litre petrol with a four-speed automatic.

This is the same package offered in Australia as well (where a six-speed manual is also available), unlike the more advanced direct-injection 1.0 litre petrol turbo and 1.4 litre turbodiesel motors on sale in Europe (as pictured here).

The 1.4 litre, four-speed automatic combo is offered in the Continent too, albeit with lower outputs (98 hp, 133 Nm), meant for “drivers who spend most of their time in heavy traffic or who have physical disabilities which prevent them from driving a manual.” Other engine options get a manual gearbox as standard.

However, our colleagues over at paultan.org/bm were in Australia last weekend to drive the all-new Rio, and were duly informed by a Kia Motors Corporation (KMC) official that the company is working on a new five-speed automatic transmission. That will come later, though.

“We do have plans to upgrade the transmission to a five-speed unit for the Malaysian market, but it has not been finalised yet. We may implement the change if there’s a demand for it, but there is no timeline as of yet, and there may be a price hike when it does arrive,” said the KMC official.

Asked if Kia will follow the trend towards continuously variable transmissions, he answered that “Kia will continue to use conventional automatics for its engines, with no plans to change to CVTs.” Instead, the company will focus on improving its current set of engines and transmissions, according to the source.