Expect major changes to the new Kia Rio when it launches in South Africa in the latter quarter of this year with design changes and upgraded specification.
The new Rio also features Kia’s first 48V mild-hybrid system but there is no indication yet that particular configuration will be made available locally.
The updated Rio features a handful of design updates for 2020. The refreshed design retains the ‘tiger-nose’ grille, narrowed for a more focused appearance and matched by a lower, wider front bumper and new fog lamp housing. All models now feature new full LED headlamps with integral running lights.
Inside, the Rio features a series of upgrades, the main one a new larger 8,0-inch widescreen and a higher-resolution 4,2-inch digital display in the driver’s instrument cluster.
The Rio is now available with a new interior customisation option in the form a new blue colour pack, depending on vehicle specification and market. This adds a dash of colour and flair to the cabin, with 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 for added visual impact. Both standard and GT Line models are now equipped with driver and optional front passenger seat height adjustability.
The Rio is the first Kia powered by a petrol mild-hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV) powertrain. The new ‘EcoDynamics+’ powertrain combines Kia’s new ‘Smartstream’ 1,0-litre T-GDi (turbo-charged gasoline direct injection) engine with Kia’s 48V MHEV system.
The system supplements the engine’s torque output with power from a compact 48-volt lithium-ion polymer battery, and extends engine ‘off time’ with a new Mild-Hybrid Starter-Generator (MHSG) unit.
The MHSG is connected by belt to the engine’s crankshaft and switches seamlessly between ‘motor’ and ‘generator’ modes. In ‘motor’ mode, under acceleration, the MHSG provides electric power assistance to reduce engine load and emissions. As the car decelerates, the MHSG has the ability under certain conditions to switch to ‘generator’ mode, recuperating energy from the crankshaft to recharge the battery.
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 (CVVD) technology, among a range of other innovations. CVVD enables the engine to switch between different combustion cycles depending on load, maximising efficiency in all driving situations.
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.
The Rio EcoDynamics+ is one of the first Kia’s to be equipped with the brand’s new intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT). The ‘clutch-by-wire’ system contributes to the MHEV system’s greater fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions, while retaining the driver engagement of a conventional manual transmission.
Instead of a mechanical linkage, the iMT’s clutch is controlled purely electronically. It integrates with the MHSG to switch off the engine when coasting to a halt.
The upgraded Kia Rio features major revisions to its existing range of petrol engine options, lowering CO2 emissions and improving driveability.
As well as EcoDynamics+ models, the Rio line-up is now offered 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 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 Rio gets an upgraded touchscreen navigation system and is one of the first Kia models to offer the brand’s ‘Phase II’ UVO Connect telematics system.
On-Board Services, in addition to live traffic information include 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.
The UVO App, compatible with Android and Apple smartphones, offers a range of new ‘Phase II’ features, enabling owners to activate a range of functions remotely. Depending on country, users can send route directions to their car before a journey, check the location of their vehicle, and access vehicle reports and diagnostic notifications.
Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS) include 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.
Depending on specification, the Rio’s new ADAS range includes the latest version of Kia’s FCA system, and is also available with Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), Intelligent Speed Limit Warning (ISLW), Smart Cruise Control (SCC), and Lane Following Assist (LFA).
The updated Rio is equipped with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Cornering Brake Control (CBC) and Straight-line Stability (SLS) systems as standard, along with six crash bags throughout the cabin, as well as ISOFIX child-seat tether and anchor points.
Model lineup and specifications for South Africa will be announced closer to the launch date.