The Kia Rio is a subcompact car with model versions running since 2000. It was put in the market as an affordable smaller hatchback, for all countries Kia resides in. In 2016, the Rio was in its third generation, so the model versions have quite the longevity. However, the 2017 Kia Rio received a thorough redesigning and is probably good to go again for the upcoming couple of years. The familiar Rio appearance remains intact, although Kia spiced it up with the latest automotive designing trends and a personal touch. The inside is just as up to date with a range of colour and material options and of course the unequivocal technological gizmos. This has all been disclosed at the reveiling of the vehicle at the Paris Motor Show of late September 29.
The real question is, can Kia pull some of the public of the high performance, special 2017 Ford Fiesta and upcoming distinct 2018 VW Polo with their new Rio? How does it stand up against the rulers of the hatchback segment? Does it look sporty enough and does the engine choice deliver the power the public wants? We’ll find out in this review.
Kia’s best-selling car model received a well-deserved re-rendering. The outgoing model was a bit blocky and slow-looking, but the 2017 Kia Rio got all the best features from Kia’s larger models. It now looks sharper, cooler and a tad more aggressive.
Starting at the front of the car, the hood is longer and a bit less steep. The Prius-y appearance of the front consequently disappeared and made way for a more grown-up looking hatchback. Another big step forward in the front exterior are the headlights. These have been replaced by a set of sleek, pointy ones that have been a bit downsized. Furthermore, there’s the grille that has the same overall shape and is a definite Kia feature, but now has been made more fitting into the headlight unity. Kia named this specific grille their tiger-nose grille, which is, granted, slightly reminiscent of a tiger’s nose. Then there’s the lower grille that is much bigger and more sporty.
On the side of the car the biggest difference are the outlines. No curvy lines or bending towards the end. Instead, Kia chose to straighten the body lines all out. The side mirrors made way for a set of tighter looking ones and the side widow lay-out remained the same. Best of all, the wheels got a size upgrade and look way more befitting to the sporty 2017 Rio.
Then finally, around back there are also some terrific changes. The Rio is longer and wider and this translates to a bigger back door. With the more vertical rear window the whole rear has that SUV/cross-over look, ending high and mighty. The taillights have been replaced by a set of more inconspicuous ones, fitting perfectly into the straight-lined make-up of the exterior design.
The much needed modernization of the Rio interior finally arrived and proved all it ought to be. The cheap, plastic look of the outgoing model is gone and made way for a wonderfully contemporary atmosphere.
The awkward vertical air vents from the last Kia Rio have been replaced by horizontal vents, with a quirky, not quite rectangular shape. Of course, the dashboard is angled towards the driver, like many newly designed vehicles. The touch screen is now a high resolution TFT-screen, that sits on top of the center stack and protrudes slightly. Really a giant upgrade from what it was.
The steering wheel adds much elan to the car, with a more upscale look and better grip. The aluminium pedals really finish off the relatively clean and comfortable interior. Colour schemes for the 2017 Kia Rio consist of black or grey cloth upholstery or black or grey faux leather. The Red pack comes with another colour option, black and red faux leather seats.
On to the metal block that drives the car, what to expect here? Although the full range of engine choices are not yet made public, it is certain that the 1.0 liter T-GDI engine will be the base engine offered with the car. This engine is also found in the Hyundai i20, the Rio’s sister model, and makes 98 horsepower in that lay-out. For the Rio, the engine will probably put out the same amount.
Some expectations for the other engines that Kia will offer consist of a 1.2 and 1.4 liter gas engine and a 1.1 and 1.4 liter diesel engine. Horsepower output will lie between at least 73 and 98, but we expect a higher range for the 1.4 liter gas engine, since the current model comes with a 138 horsepower four-cylinder engine. In terms of engine options, the 2017 Kia Rio offers similar units as the amazing revamped car, the 2017 Hyundai i30.
For the transmission options we expect a five or six speed manual transmission and a four speed automatic transmission.
The United States will most likely get all the same gasoline options as Europe nd of course an automatic transmission.
Kia really upped the ante with their new 2017 Kia Rio in the tech department. The Rio will be the first car in its price range to offer standard Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian recognition, which is one of its best features so far, according to our team at cars2018. This standard feature helps Kia to put the Rio in people’s watch list and might convince some of the VW Polo and Ford Fiesta public to make the switch to the Rio.
An optional feature of the car is Apple Car Play and Android Auto connectivity. More safety and tech features are definitely on the radar, but have not been fully disclosed by Kia yet. Stay tuned for updates on these specs.
Price and sale date
Prices are not available yet and neither is the exact release date. Since the 2017 Kia Rio has been reveiled at the Paris Motor Show recently and goes into production this December, we expect the car to hit showrooms somewhere in the spring of 2017. The United States will receive the Rio somewhat later on in the year, or even in early 2018.