Kia lifts the wraps on its new Rio 01 | 03 | 2011

    KIA IS CONTINUING its transformation with the introduction of its all-new, much-needed Rio supermini; it's the model which is desperately needed to help capture sales in the UK’s biggest market-segment.

    The Rio, based on the same group platform as the Hyundai i20, is the work of Kia’s European studio under design chief Peter Schreyer. With its aggressive lower air vents, new ‘pinched’ treatment of the corporate grille and dominant headlamps, the new Rio is bigger in length, width and wheelbase than the model it replaces.

    Interior space has, naturally, been increased while on-road stability has been improved and the slightly lowered roofline definitely improves the styling.

    Engines are based on the 1.4 and 1.6 petrol and diesels, also shared with Hyundai, and mated to five- and six-speed manual transmissions or a five-speed auto, while the Rio is also expected to get a new 68bhp 1.1-litre four-cylinder diesel and a 1.2-litre soft-turbo petrol with direction injection.

    When it enters Kia's showrooms across Scotland in September, the five-door hatch will be the sole body variant with the three-door following in December. Whisper it, but there's also rumoured to be a Rio three-door 'warm hatch' scheduled to arrive in mid-2012.

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    Jim McGill

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