Kia is displaying the 2018 Rio Sedan and Rio 5-door (hatchback) at the New York Auto Show, the latest variants to join Kia Motors America’s line-up. The new Kia Rio Sedan and 5-door version are expected to arrive at dealerships in the U.S. later in the year.
Rio’s exterior is defined by crisp lines and smooth surfaces, providing a more sporty look over the previous generation. The front end wears the latest iteration of Kia’s ‘tiger-nose’ grille, integrating newly designed headlights that are swept back for a more aggressive appearance. In addition, Rio’s fog light surrounds have been moved outwards, creating greater visual width to the front fascia and a lower window line around the cabin provides the driver and passengers with a better all-around view.
The Rio sedan has been lengthened to 172.6 inches (from 172.0 inches) and the Rio 5-door is now 160.0 inches long (from 159.4 inches). Both profiles feature a longer wheelbase of 101.6 inches (from 101.2 inches) and more upright A-pillars. The sedan and 5-door are also lower and wider for a more balanced and athletic stance compared to the outgoing model. And a well-creased shoulder line runs from front to back, further stretching the appearance of the car to give it a sleeker look. From the rear, the car is now more upright thanks to shorter overhangs and thinner, more expressive taillights. Like the front-end, the rear view of the car is wider, furthering a sense of stability.
The Rio rides on 15-inch wheels that have been pushed to the corners. The EX trim’s sporty alloy wheel design underscores Rio’s fun-to-drive side and refinement.
Inside, emphasis has been placed on space and a modern and upscale look with an improved instrument panel, more ergonomic layout and upgraded interior materials.Horizontal lines running the width of the dashboard mimic the exterior design and give the cabin a wider and more expansive look and feel. For convenience, the center console offers a bi-level tray to better accommodate portable devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Thanks to Rio’s larger dimensions and wheelbase, its cabin is among the roomiest in its class, the sedan’s passenger space is 89.9 cubic feet while the 5-door hatchback measures 90.5 cubic feet. Front occupants will enjoy more head room, leg room and shoulder room while those in the second row will benefit from greater leg- and shoulder room. These improvements are the result of re-profiled door trims, new material for the headliner and a reshaping of the dashboard. Front seats have a slimmer design with more cushion and padding.
Those looking for ample cargo room will not be disappointed with either the sedan’s 13.7 cubic feet or the 5-door hatchback’s 17.4 cubic feet. With the seats folded down, the hatchback offers a voluminous 32.8 cubic feet with a low and flat cargo floor to accommodate luggage, small furniture or weekend gear. Technology inputs comprise Bluetooth hands-free functionality, a six-speaker stereo with satellite radio and a rear-view camera system, a seven-inch floating touchscreen interface, UVO3 voice recognition infotainment system and smartphone connectivity (available for the highest trim level).
Available in three trims (LX, S and EX), the new Kia Rio is powered by a carryover but enhanced Gamma 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder engine that’s paired to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
The unibody Rio’s new platform is not only dimensionally larger than the previous generation model, but is now underpinned by a completely new suspension geometry, comprising a fully-independent MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam rear axle. The new Rio sedan and Rio 5-door also benefit from a revised spring and damper setup that helps make the car more compliant and comfortable. Stopping power comes from 11-inch disc brakes up front and drum brakes in the rear, while the EX model is outfitted with 11-inch disc brakes up front and 10.3-inch rear disc brakes.
Rio’s solid structure makes use of advanced high strength steel to increase durability, collision test performance and torsional stiffness, while also reducing weight, for improved handling and ride quality. For reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), the Rio uses body sealing and bonding adhesives to dampen sound pathways throughout its construction. Standard safety features include six airbags, side-impact door beams, Electronic Stability Control, a four-wheel Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM).