By Staff Reporter
Kia has taken covers off its updated Kia Rio with changes to the exterior, interior and power train. The updated Rio also gains key safety features that are typically associated with bigger cars. The changes are primarily for the European market and we will only learn in the fourth quarter of this year, when the car gets here, which features will eventually make it to our market. Nonetheless, the changes confirm the Rio’s status as a key contender in the segment.
The car retains most of its front look with the distinctive “tiger nose” grille narrowed and the front bumper lowered, and widened. New fog lamp housing is also part of the new look. All models now feature new full LED headlamps with integral running lights.
Two new exterior colours, Perennial Grey and Sporty Blue, are also introduced. This brings the total number of paint options to nine, depending on specification and market. The upgraded Rio is also offered with a new eight-spoke 16-inch alloy wheel design.
The main update is a new larger 8.0-inch widescreen infotainment system, and a higher-resolution 4.2-inch digital display in the driver’s instrument cluster.
The new infotainment system also features Bluetooth multi-connection, enabling users to connect up to two mobile devices at the same time – one for hands-free phone and multimedia use; the other for media use only. Additionally, the system offers new ‘Phase II’ UVO Connect telematics features which gives drivers access to a range of ‘Phase II’ On-Board Services, over and above live traffic information, weather forecasts, points of interest (POIs), fuel prices, and details of potential on- and off-street parking – including price, location and availability. The system also features Online Voice Recognition, supported by server technologies, which lets users give voice commands, hands-free, to search for nearby POIs, addresses, weather updates, or send text messages.
Those wishing to customize their cars will welcome the introduction of the a new blue colour pack which adds coloured seat bolsters, dashboard and door arm rests, matched with contrast stitching. GT-Line models are offered with a black single-tone interior with white contrast piping and stitching on the seats, and a carbon fibre-effect dashboard.
Both standard and GT Line models are now equipped with driver and optional front passenger seat height adjustability.
The biggest changes in the updated Rio happen under the bonnet with the introduction of a new petrol mild-hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV) powertrain. The new ‘EcoDynamics+’ powertrain combines KIA’s new ‘Smartstream’ 1.0-litre T-GDi (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) engine with Kia’s 48V MHEV system. This combination is said to maximise fuel efficiency with electric torque assistance and regenerative braking.
The new Smartstream engine replaces the Rio’s earlier ‘Kappa’-generation 1.0-litre T-GDi, and is equipped with Kia’s advanced Continuously Variable Valve Duration technology, among a range of other innovations. The Smartstream engine produces the same power as the previous Kappa engine line – 74 kW or 88 kW – but enables 16% higher peak torque output for 88 kW variants (200 Nm).
Overall, the new EcoDynamics+ powertrain reduces the Rio’s CO2 emissions by between 8.1% and 10.7% (NEDC, combined cycle), and is offered on both 74 kW and 88 kW versions of the new engine. Both 48V powertrains will be equipped with a Drive Mode Select system, giving drivers the choice to customise their drive with ‘Eco’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Normal’ modes.
Existing petrol powertrains are also revised. The Rio line-up is now offered in Europe with a choice of Smartstream petrol engines – the new 74 kW 1.0-litre T-GDi engine, and a new version of KIA’s naturally aspirated 1.2-litre engine, with innovative Dual Port Injection technology and a power output of 62 kW.
The 74 kW 1.0-litre T-GDi engine is now offered with a six-speed manual transmission (replacing the earlier five-speed manual) and Kia’s seven-speed double-clutch transmission (7DCT).
The upgraded Rio features several of KIA’s latest Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS), such as Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with pedestrian, vehicle and newly introduced cyclist recognition, Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), and Blind Spot Collision Warning (BCW). Furthermore, the Rio now offers several new active safety systems to enhance occupant safety such as Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), Intelligent Speed Limit Warning (ISLW), Smart Cruise Control (SCC), and Lane Following Assist (LFA), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA) and Rear Occupant Alert (ROA).
The upgraded KIA Rio is expected to make its South African debut in Q4 of 2020.
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