The Rio will be shown at the Geneva auto show next month among the new Kia Picanto minicar. It will go up against such strong sellers as the Ford Fiesta, VW Polo and Renault Clio in the all-important B segment, where the current generation Rio has been an uncompetitive.
“The Rio is Kia's third best-selling model worldwide, but in Europe it has been underperforming significantly,” Kia Europe COO Paul Philpott said in an interview Automotive News Europe earlier this month.
Philpott says the current Rio's flat styling and wrong entry-level engine are mostly to blame for its poor sales performance, and insists that those problems have been fixed for the new generation.
The new Rio is longer, lower and wider than the existing model. And to widen the car's potential customer base, he said, a three-door version will be offered for it as well as for the Picanto. Both are offered now as five-door models only.
Another strike against the current Rio was its 1.4-liter entry-level engine, considered too large and fuel-inefficient for a car at the bottom of its price bracket.
The new generation will offer a fuel-efficient 1.0-liter, three-cylinder gasoline engine and a 1.2-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine as entry-level options. Both can be mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.
Philpott declined to discuss price for the new Rio. The five-door model will go on sale in August, with the three-door following by the end of the year.