The compact Rio is Kia’s most popular model—the Korean automaker expects one in every five of the cars it sells will be a Rio. Its fourth generation debuted here in Paris, looking a little sportier, sized a little larger, and better equipped than ever before. Of course, that’s to be expected with almost any new generation of a vehicle.
It won’t arrive in Canada until early next year, which gives Kia some time to decide which of the three engines announced for Europe will make their way over to us, if any. There’s a diesel and also a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder, but probably, we’ll get the 1.4-litre 99-hp version. We might even stick with the carry-over 1.6-litre engine as an alternative choice.
It’s tough to get excited about a Kia Rio, but the company was talking it up as if it’s the second coming. It is a good-looking little car, however, and there’s more legroom now in the front and back seats for passengers. The wheelbase is 10 mm longer and the body is 15 mm wider, which doesn’t sound like much but does allow for more design variability inside.
It should also handle better than before, thanks to lighter and stiffer metals throughout its chassis and body. It will look a little more aggressive on the road, too, with a narrower grille and squintier headlamps.
Of course, as yesterday’s cutting-edge technology becomes today’s base-level standard, the Rio will be better equipped than before with electronic driver’s aids, including optional autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and lane departure warning. Connectivity is improved, too – all that really matters to many younger drivers these days. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be standard.