Revolutionary new Rio family to power Kia sales boom

Kia’s all-new, fourth-generation Rio, which made its world premiere at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, is set to spark a revolution in the compact car segment and power a boom in the growth of Kia sales.

New Rio boasts a bold and distinctive personality, bringing the latest B-segment model smartly in line with the rest of Kia’s strikingly modern, design-led product range.

New Kia RIO

Tasked with the difficult job of improving upon the remarkable international success of the previous generation Rio model, Kia’s engineers and designers have created a new Rio family of models which combine European finesse with Korean spice to create a language that also communicates Latin flair – for a truly global appeal.

In addition to appealing to consumers’ aesthetic tastes, the new Kia Rio will spearhead the company’s efforts to significantly grow its market share across the globe by offering potential owners impressive environmental credentials. CO2 emissions for the model range on sale in South Africa start at just 129 g/km – confirming that the B-segment Rio is highly competitive compared with other models in its class.

“The new Kia Rio model is not an evolution of its predecessor, it’s a revolution. The new Rio is extremely attractive with a fresh feeling of sportiness – a car that people will want to buy for its new looks, generous features and environmental credentials,” comments Ray Levin, CEO, Kia Motors South Africa.

New Kia RIO Johannesburg

Kia’s market research predicts that global demand for B-segment cars is going to grow significantly over the next two years as more consumers shift to more economical, more fuel-efficient cars – downsizing to offset the continuous rise in fuel prices.  Analysts forecast that global demand for B-segment cars will climb to 9.2 million units in 2012 and to 14.0 million units by 2014.

“Today Kia has a relatively low profile in the B-segment.  Now with new Rio, we are set to attract a host of new customers to Kia showrooms and it will appeal to a much wider demographic than before. The new Rio offers feature levels only seen  from the C-segment upwards”, adds Levin.

The new Rio model will be sold in South Africa with a choice of two body styles (5-door & and 4-door sedan) with the 5-door available from Nov’11 and 4-door from early 2012. The Rio 5-door comes with two petrol engines (1.2 and 1.4 litre) and three derivatives (1.2, 1.4 and 1.4 TEC).

New Kia RIO Logo

It is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor and features a wheelbase extended by 70 mm – greatly enhancing passenger space and cargo capacity.  With an overall height of 1,455 mm, new Rio is one of the lowest cars in Kia’s global product range.

To lower fuel consumption, Kia engineers have carried out an extensive programme to shed weight across a broad range of components.  As a result, although new Rio is a significantly larger car than the third-generation model it replaces, with extra equipment, its weight-gain has been kept to a minimum.

Rio is set to completely redefine its position as one of the most competitive vehicles in one of the world’s most competitive market sectors – the B-segment. The new Rio will be manufactured exclusively at Kia’s Sohari plant in Korea.

New Kia RIO Wheel


‘Premium presence’ for all-new Rio

With the new Rio, Kia has created a car that answers consumer demand for more quality, more choice, and an aggressive and exciting design. The bold and distinctive personality of the new Rio represents a complete departure from its predecessor and fits perfectly into the revitalised new family of Kia products.

Viewed head on, new Rio has its own unique interpretation of the Kia corporate grille, which is integrated beautifully with the front lamps to create a new twist on the Kia family look.  In this latest form, the Kia logo now sits above the grille.  Below the grille, the treatment of front bumper and spoiler again shows signs of the Kia design DNA, with its distinctive on-road presence. The 1.4 TEC model features Daytime Running Lights, incorporated into projection headlamps, a standout feature in this segment.

In profile, the 5-door model’s shorter front overhang (reduced by 25 mm), lowered roofline and increased ratio of body-to-glass, combined with the car’s strong wedge form (the beltline angle is increased from 2.5 to 4.9 degrees), gives new Rio a dynamic, sporty stance.  The 1.2 Rio comes standard with 15 inch steel wheels, while the 1.4 model comes standard with 15-inch alloy wheels (optional 17-inch alloy wheels). The 1.4 TEC model comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels. All models are equipped with a full-size spare wheel.

From the rear, new Rio shows its connection with the Sportage through its strong and stable design, flowing C-pillar, dominant high shoulder and fast rear screen angle.  The coupe-like roof-line contrasts dramatically with the strong and static rear bumper and gives a power and solidity to the rear view. The 1.4 TEC model further features rear LED lights, another unique feature in this segment. All 1.4 models also feature welcome home escourt lights.

Longer (by 20 mm), wider (by 25 mm), and lower (by -15 mm) and featuring a wheelbase extended by 70 mm (to 2,570 mm) – the new Rio 5-door has greatly enhanced passenger space and cargo capacity.

With an overall height of 1,455 mm, new Rio is one of the lowest cars in Kia’s global product range.  New Rio’s aerodynamics are extremely efficient, resulting in a drag figure of Cd 0.32.

New Kia RIO South Africa

The new Rio’s bold but elegant appearance is strengthened by the distinctive feature line which adds tension to the flanks and accentuates the dynamic stance of the car.  The careful balance of window graphic, wheelbase and overall proportion give Rio a refinement and premium presence which is rare in the B-segment.

With the introduction of the new Rio, the Kia product portfolio has just taken the next important step towards becoming a family of vehicles, which has an attractive, and coherent brand style, but still manages to retain individual product character.

To maximise the impact of Rio´s striking appearance, Kia’s colour and trim team have developed a fresh new palette of exclusive colours for Rio, which underline its refined and stylish character.  These colours include one Solid – Clean White, and nine Metallics – Bright Silver, Graphite Grey, Black, Fresh Beige, Caramel Yellow, Electronic Blue, Signal Red, Deep Blue and Wendy Brown.

Kia’s five-door models compared (dimensions in mm)

Model Length Wheelbase Width Height
Kia Picanto
2385 1595 1490
Kia Rio
2570 1720 1455
Kia Soul
4120 2550 1785 1610


‘Bespoke feel’ for sophisticated and spacious interior

To complement the striking exterior styling, new Rio’s interior design has also been transformed, with a clean sophisticated theme.  The concept follows the corporate Kia interior philosophy with the characteristic horizontal instrument panel, accentuating the feeling of width and space in the cabin

The enhanced quality and refinement of interior materials and the attention to detail in fit and finish have been design priorities for new Rio.

As in other recently-launched Kia models, the signature interior architecture – with its ‘three cylinder’ instrument cluster, precise instrument graphics and clear functionality – have been retained.  Easy on the eyes and with proven ‘readability’ all back-lighting on the instrument cluster, dashboard, audio and heating systems feature Kia’s signature red colour.

New for Rio are the centrally located row of toggle switches, which are neatly integrated into the centre fascia, and control some of the car’s secondary functions.

The sophistication of this interior concept is also reflected in the trim which give the car a genuine premium feel. The entry 1.2 and 1.4 models feature black woven fabric, while the range topping 1.4 TEC comes with leather trim as standard. The bespoke feel of the interior underlines the new focus for Rio as a mature, refined and compact premium car.

The current global trend towards downsizing of vehicles, which is being seen across many regions, means that cars in the B-segment are becoming more mature and refined as they are required to satisfy the premium aspirations of more sophisticated consumer groups.  More refinement, more features, higher quality but above all more choice and distinctive design is in greater demand.

The radically-new Rio is Kia´s answer to these new market conditions, and numerous ‘big car’ comfort and convenience features will be offered to consumers on a B-segment Kia for the first time.

Features include items such as: steering wheel-mounted audio controls, radio CD player with MP3 compatibility plus AUX, iPod and USB connections and hands-free Bluetooth®. Feature highlights on the 1.4 TEC model are; climate-control air-conditioning, a rear park assist system with 4-sensors, rain-sensing wipers, LED daytime running lights and 17-inch alloy wheels (1.4 – optional/1.4 TEC – standard).

The 1.2 Rio comes standard with 4 speakers, while the 1.4 and 1.4 TEC model is fitted with 6 speakers (4 door and 2 tweeter speakers).

The new Rio’s cabin is more spacious than the previous model and also feels more spacious.  The base of the windscreen is moved forwards by 156 mm and up by 18 mm, which together with the 70 mm longer wheelbase and 25 mm wider bodyshell, brings space benefits for all occupants and for cargo capacity.  Front legroom is increased by 45 mm, front headroom by 8 mm and rear knee room by 34 mm.

Trunk space in the Rio hatchback models is 100 mm wider and the capacity is now 288 litres – a 6.6% improvement – with the rear seats upright and 923 litres with the rear seats folded down.

The rear seat backrest is split 60/40 for maximum versatility and users can fold the backrest down, to create an almost flat-floored load area.

Inside, cabin storage space includes a large, 1.5-litre glove box, a larger centre console with 3-litres capacity and pockets to hold a 1.5-litre bottle in the front doors and a 0.5-litre bottle in the rear doors.


Two highly efficient engines with 65 and 79 kW outputs

Kia will offer new Rio customers a choice of two highly efficient four-cylinder petrol engines – a 1.2-litre Kappa engine generating 65kW or a 1.4-litre Gamma engine generating 79 kW of power, respectively.

Kia’s advanced ‘Kappa’ family of engines – also appearing in the New Picanto this year – also features dual CVVT, with a cast aluminium block, off-set crankshaft, maintenance-free timing chain and low-friction ‘beehive’ valve springs.  These technologies significantly improve efficiency and reduce exhaust emissions.  The 1.2-litre engine in Rio delivers 65 kW (at 6,000 rpm) and 120 Nm of torque (at 4,000 rpm).  Acceleration to 100 km/h takes 13.1 seconds and top speed is 168 km/h.

A popular and well-proven power unit in Kia’s engine line-up, the updated ‘Gamma’ fitted in new Rio has friction-reducing modifications and dual CVVT (continuously variable valve timing), to achieve a responsive performance and competitively modest fuel consumption.  With maximum output of 79 kW (at 6,300 rpm) and peak torque of 135 Nm (at 4,200 rpm), this engine powers the 1.4 Rio – accelerating the 5-door manual model to 100 km/h in 11.5 seconds and reaching a top speed of 183 km/h.

The new Rio 1.2 and 1.4 models will have a CO2 rating of 129 g/km – 151 g/km (165 g/km on auto), while achieving combined fuel economy of 5.4 – 6.4 (7.0 on auto) litres per 100 km
Respectively for the 1.2 and 1.4 models (Manufacturers estimated figures, under strict testing conditions).

The 1.2 Rio is fitted with a five-speed gearbox, while the standard transmission for the larger capacity 1.4 engine will be a fuel-stretching six-speed manual gearbox. As an option, a four-speed automatic transmission will also be available for the 1.4-litre unit. All three transmissions are fitted with a high top gear ratio (0.719 [5-speed], 0.774 [6-speed] and 0.713:1 [4-speed auto], respectively) to reduce engine revs when cruising and enhance fuel economy.


Improved stability, smoother ride and enhanced refinement

The new Rio’s suspension and running gear has been totally re-engineered to carry over that popular car’s responsive handling while improving stability, ride quality and refinement – in line with heightened customer expectations.

The electric power-assisted rack and pinion steering (called MDPS) now features a combined torque/angle sensor to protect against side wind gusts.  The system is geared to require just 2.82 turns (lock-to-lock) and the turning circle is a city-street-friendly 10.52 metres.  The use of electric, rather than hydraulic power assistance results in a 3% fuel saving.

The four-spoke steering wheel is ‘tilt’ adjustable for height and telescopic adjustable for reach on all models.

Mounted on a sub-frame to isolate road shocks, the MacPherson strut front suspension is largely unchanged, with small alterations to reduce friction and accommodate the new model’s longer wheelbase, wider track and different weight distribution.

The CTBA (coupled torsion beam axle) at the rear is stiffer (reducing under-steer) and the strength of the connection between the trailing-arms and the stub-axles is doubled.  Wheel travel is increased by 10 mm and the geometry is improved to reduce bump-steer while also delivering a more compliant ride.

The braking system for new Rio features 256 x 22 mm ventilated front discs and 203 x 10 mm drum brakes at the rear.  The performance of the braking system is supported by the ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution System).

Best-in-class refinement

Kia engineers were determined to make new Rio one of the best-in-class cars in terms of refinement.  As well as creating a more rigid bodyshell structure, key components were scrutinised to discover new ways of improving NVH (noise, vibration and harshness).

Measures to minimise NVH include increasing the rigidity of the car’s bodyshell structure with a stiffer steering column support bracket, reinforced panels within the C-pillar, strengthened rear fascia and increased stiffness for the inner and outer skins of the tailgate.

The front subframe, which supports the engine, transmission and suspension, was strengthened, made more rigid and mounted to the bodyshell at six points – two more than before.  The engine mounts have larger hydraulic mass dampers and the driveshaft’s improved damper tuning.  Improved noise absorption was achieved by applying new, lightweight materials to the dashboard bulkhead, hood and engine cover.  The engine air-intake system was also modified to reduce intake roar.

Within the bodyshell, new sound absorbing materials were applied to the A-, B- and C-pillars and to the rear wheel arches, trunk side panels and tailgate.


Comprehensive ‘active’ and ‘passive’ safety systems

For new Rio, an all-new bodyshell was created using a higher percentage of ultra high-strength steel (UHTS) than the third-generation model, enhancing the structure’s strength and rigidity.  To improve progressive deformation during a frontal impact special attention was given to strengthening the engine-bay longitudinal side members, the fender apron and the transverse dashboard bulkhead to absorb and disperse forces more effectively.

The challenge of improving side impact protection, where crumple zones are much smaller, was tackled by fitting stronger side sill members made from roll-formed UHTS steel, with UHTS B-pillars and cross-members between the B-pillars at floor and roof level.  For further protection, the front door interior trims are optimised with armrest and trim components designed to minimize and evenly spread loads.

Pedestrian safety is an important factor in overall road safety and new Rio features a deformable hood with flexible hinges to reduce head impact forces, plus the removal of headlamp support structures to allow easier deformation and an additional 70 mm of crumple space behind the front bumper beam to lessen lower leg injuries.

Kia’s engineers are confident that new Rio will achieve a 5-Star safety rating in EuroNCAP crash tests, following the top 5-Star ratings scored by Soul, Sportage and Sorento – and a ‘top score’ rating in other official crash safety tests around the world.

‘Passive’ safety equipment available will include front airbags for driver and passenger on the 1.2 and 1.4 models with six airbags (front, side and curtain) on the 1.4 TEC model. A Rear Park Assist system is fitted as standard on the 1.4 TEC and is a unique to the compact hatch segment – normally offered as an option only on some competitors.  Child-proof rear door locks as well as rear ISOFIX-child anchors are fitted as standard to all Rio models. ‘Active’ safety equipment standard on all Rio models includes ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution).

Every new Rio is equipped with a battery saver that automatically turns off the headlamps and any other active electrical systems when the engine is switched off, preventing the battery from running down when the car is parked.


Kia Rio 1.2

• 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps and 185/65R15 tyres
• Black mesh radiator grille with chrome surround trim
• Body-colour bumpers (4.0 km/h, impact resistant)
• 4-lens headlights
• Black headlamps bezels
• Body-colour door handles & door mirror mountings
• Heated rear window
• Roof-mounted micro radio antenna
• High-mounted stop light
• Rear window washer/wiper system
• Manual-adjustable headlamp levelling

Comfort & Convenience
• MDPS electric power steering
• Tilt & telescopic adjustment for steering wheel
• Electric adjustable door mirrors
• Electric windows (front/rear)
• Tachometer (rev counter)
• Exterior temperature display
• Trip computer and odometer
• Cabin courtesy lamp delay
• Cargo bay lamp
• Luggage hooks
• Air conditioner
• Rear heating/ventilation ducts
• 12 V power outlet
• Manual transmission ‘shift’ indicator

• Bluetooth hands-free phone system
• Radio / CD player with MP3/AUX/USB compatibility
• Radio with AUX, USB
• Four audio speakers
• 4-spoke soft polyurethane steering wheel
• Steering-wheel mounted audio controls
• Black woven cloth-covered seat upholstery
• Front door map pocket & bottle holder
• Rear door map pocket & bottle holder
• Dual front sunvisors with covered vanity mirrors and illumination
• Glove box with illumination
• Centre console storage
• Two front cup-holders
• Digital clock
• 60/40 split rear seat backrest
• Removable can-type ashtray
• Height adjustable driver’s seat
• Rear parcel shelf cover

Safety & Security
• 3-point seatbelts for front and outside rear occupants
• 2-point seatbelts for centre rear occupant
• Height-adjustable head restraints for front seats
• Height-adjustable head restraints for outside rear seats
• Driver’s front airbag
• Passenger’s front airbag
• Child-proof rear door locks
• Audible seatbelt warning (driver’s seat)
• Key-less entry system
• Central locking
• Burglar alarm
• Engine immobiliser
• ABS anti-lock braking system with EBD
• Full size spare wheel and tyre
• Manual-adjustable headlamp levelling

Kia Rio 1.4
Additional factory-fitted standard equipment over 1.2 model
• Alloy 15-inch wheels with 185/65 R15 tyres
• Front fog lamps
• Power-folding mirrors
• Automatic light controls with ‘Welcome and Escort’ function
• Leather wrapped steering wheel
• Leather-wrapped gear shift knob
• Side repeater lights in door mirrors
• 2 tweeter audio speakers in dash-top
• Supervision instrument cluster
• Centre console armrest

Kia Rio 1.4 TEC
Additional factory-fitted standard equipment over 1.4 models
• Alloy 17-inch wheels with 205/45 R17 tyres
• UV-Protection Solar windscreen glass
• LED positioning lights  & LED rear lamps
• Projection-type headlamps
• Glove box with cooling function
• Rear parking sensors
• Fully automatic air-conditioning (Climate control)
• Rain sensor & automatic defogging
• Leather trim seat upholstery
• Leather-look door centre trim panels
• Side & Curtain airbags
• Alloy pedals

Optional Equipment

• 1.4 – Alloy 17-inch wheels with 205/45 R17 tyres
• 1.4 TEC – Powered ‘Tilt & Slide’ glass sunroof


Body & Chassis
5-door, five-seater B-segment models, with all-steel unitary construction bodyshell.  Choice of two transversely mounted petrol engines driving the front wheels via a five-speed or six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.

Engines / Petrol

1.2-litre 65 kW
Type / capacity Kappa (4-in-line), DOHC, four-cylinder, dual CVVT / 1248 cc
Power/torque   65 kW @ 6000 rpm / 120 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Emissions  129 g/km (5-sp manual)

1.4-litre 79 kW
Type / capacity Gamma (4-in-line), DOHC, four-cylinder, dual CVVT / 1396 cc
Power / torque  79 kW) @ 6300 rpm / 135 Nm @ 4200 rpm
Emissions  151 g/km (6-sp manual) 165 g/km (4-sp automatic)

1.2  1.4
Manual / speeds  5  6
Automatic / speeds  —-  4

Gear ratios
1.2     1.4 MT / AT
1    3.545    3.769 / 2.919
2    1.895    2.045 / 1.551
3    1.192    1.370 / 1.000
4    0.906   1.036 / 0.713
5    0.719    0.893 / —–
6    —–     0.774 / —–
Rev    3.636   3.700 / 2.480
Final Drive   4.600   4.059 / 4.375

Suspension & Damping
Front  Fully independent by subframe-mounted MacPherson struts, with coil springs and gas-filled shock absorbers. Anti-roll stabiliser bar.
Rear  Semi independent by CTBA (coupled torsion beam axle) with separate coil springs and gas-filled shock absorbers.
Type    MDPS electric power-assisted rack and pinion
Gearing   2.82 turns lock-to-lock (powered)
Turning circle   10.52 (powered)

Power   Single 10-inch Booster
Front     256 x 22 mm ventilated discs
Rear    203 x 10 mm drums
Assistance  ABS anti-lock with EBD

Wheels & Tyres
1.2 – Standard             Steel 15 in x 5.5J 185/65 R15 tyres

1.4 – Standard  Alloy 15 in x 5.5J  185/65 R15 tyres
(1.4 – Optional  Alloy 17 in x 5.5J  185/65 R15 tyres)

1.4 TEC – Standard Alloy 17 in x 5.5J  205/45 R17 tyres


Exterior (hatchbacks)
Overall length  4045
Overall width  1720 (excluding door mirrors)
Overall height  1455
Wheelbase   2570
Front overhang   805
Rear overhang   670
Front track   1521
Rear track   1525
Ground clearance    150

Interior (hatchbacks)
Front   Rear
Headroom   1015     960
Legroom  1112     790
Shoulder room  1350   1324
Hip room  1323   1301

Fuel tank (litres) 43.0
Luggage (VDA)  288 litres / rear seats upright (hatchbacks)
923 litres / rear seats folded (hatchbacks)

Weights (kg) (5-door)
1.2   1.4 MT / AT
Curb (minimum)* 1010   1041 / 1068
Gross (maximum)  1540   1570 / 1600

Performance)** (5-door)
1.2    1.4 MT / AT
Top speed / kph  168    183 / 170
0-to-100 kph / sec  13.1    11.5 / 13.2

Economy*** (5-door)
1.2    1.4 MT / AT
Litres / 100 km 5.4    6.4 / 7.0
CO2 emissions  129    151 / 165

* including 75 kg driver
** Figures stated are manufacturer’s estimates
*** Combined cycle

Standard on all models:
4-year / 60 000 km service plan
5-year / 100 000 km warranty
3-year unlimited roadside assistance