Apart from incorporating a mild aesthetic update, the refreshed Kia Rio now offers improved specification (such as a standard 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system throughout the line-up). What's more, the Korean compact hatchback range has been consolidated through the addition of 1.4 LS manual and automatic derivatives.
By increasing the standard specification across the 4th-generation Rio range, Kia Motors South Africa looks to ramp up the value proposition of one of the B-segment's mainstays, which arrived on local shores in 2017.
The exterior design updates mostly pertain to the Rio's front end – the "tiger-nose" grille has been narrowed to create a more focused appearance, matched by a lower, wider front bumper and distinctive foglamp housings. Two new colours are available: Perennial Grey- and Sporty Blue metallic.
Bigger touchscreen for all versions
As far as interior enhancements to the Rio are concerned, the main update is an upgrade of the infotainment system's colour touchscreen (from 7- to 8-inches), which is also now standard across the Rio range. Front passengers benefit from the standard USB and auxiliary-in ports, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, plus an additional 12V power socket has been made available.
All derivatives feature multifunction steering wheels with mounted audio controls and Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free telephony.
Unchanged engine line-up
Kia has opted to retain the 1.25-litre and 1.4-litre MPI (multi-point injection) petrol engines that have done duty in the Rio since its launch in 2017.
The 1.25-litre engine produces peak power of 61 kW at 6 000 rpm and 120 Nm torque at 4 000 rpm. The 1.4-litre engine produces 73 kW at 6 300 rpm and 135 Nm torque at 4 200 rpm. Both engines apply power to the front wheels, either through a 5-speed manual transmission (on the 1.2 LS) or a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission (on 1.4-litre derivatives).
Updated spec throughout
The Rio 1.2 LS remains the entry-level derivative but, just above it, Kia has added 1.4-litre LS derivatives to the range. Following the range revision, the specification includes – inter alia – manual aircon, electric windows and -side mirrors, central locking with an alarm and immobiliser, 6 speakers (up from 4 speakers), steering wheel-mounted remote audio controls, a rake- and reach-adjustable steering column and headlight adjustment.
Apart from the standard 8-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system that is now available across the range, Rio LS models now also gain 15-inch alloy wheels, replacing the pre-facelift LS derivatives’ steel wheels with plastic wheel covers.
The LX grade, which is only available with the 1.4-litre engine, notably gains front fog lights, a centre-console armrest, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearknob/transmission lever, plus a new 4.2-inch LCD Supervision instrument cluster. Side mirrors now include an auto-folding function with integrated indicators, while the vehicle’s lighting system gains automatic light control with an escort and Welcome Home function.
The EX grade, which is also available only with the 1.4-litre engine, additionally features LED daytime running lights, a rear park assistance system with integrated reverse-view camera (with dynamic guidelines) and 17-inch alloy wheels (upgraded from the previous model’s 15-inch wheels).
The 1.4 TEC (manual and auto) remains the flagship of the the Rio range. Compared with the EX grade, it features automatic aircon, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, LED rear combination lamps, cruise control, an electro-chromatic rear-view mirror, alloy pedals and leather upholstery.
Safety-wise, along with driver’s and front passenger’s airbags (including side and curtain airbags in the 1.4 TEC), all Rio derivatives come equipped with front seatbelt pre-tensioners with load limiters, side door impact beams front and rear, child locks, and impact-sensing door unlocking function.
ISOfix child seat anchors are standard, as is ABS. Electronic Stability Control and Hill-start Assist Control features on LX-grade derivatives and up.
Kia Rio prices in South Africa (Nov 2020)
All Kia models come standard with a 5-year unlimited-kilometre warranty and roadside assistance. All the derivatives in the range are offered with a 4-year/60 000 km service plan, with the exception of 1.2 LS (2-year/60 000 km service plan).
|1.2 LS Manual||R280 995|
|1.4 LS Manual||R291 995|
|1.4 LS Auto||R308 995|
|1.4 LX Manual||R306 995|
|1.4 LX Auto||R323 995|
|1.4 EX Manual||R319 995|
|1.4 EX Auto||R336 995|
|1.4 TEC Manual||R344 995|
|1.4 TEC Auto||R361 995|
The 1.4 TEC derivatives may also be ordered with a factory-fitted sunroof (R8 000).