Following the next-gen Hyundai i20, Hyundai Motor Group has revealed the new Kia Rio facelift. The 2020 Hyundai i20 rival will go on sale in Europe in Q3 2020 (July-September 2020).
The Kia Rio has adopted a more stylish front end with the mid-cycle update. The tiger-nose grille has been narrowed and a lower, wider front bumper and new fog lamp housing have been introduced. Full LED headlamps have been made standard. The front end looks slightly more powerful now. On the sides, the sub-compact hatchback has received new 16-inch alloy wheels. Perennial Grey and Sporty Blue new exterior colours have also been introduced.
The interior of the 2021 Kia Rio doesn't pack substantial visual changes. The biggest update is a new larger 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Also new is a higher-resolution 4.2-inch MID in the instrument cluster. Thanks to the new infotainment system, the Rio has become one of the first Kia models to offer new 'Phase II' UVO Connect connected car features. Moreover, customers can go for a new blue colour pack to add a dash of colour and flair to the cabin. This includes coloured seat bolsters, dashboard and door armrests, along with contrasting stitching.
Moving to the powertrain updates, Kia has replaced the Rio’s Kappa 1.0-litre T-GDi engine with the new ‘Smartstream’ 1.0-litre T-GDi engine. The new turbocharged petrol engine has been announced in 100 PS and 120 PS maximum power versions. However, while the old engine’s 120 PS version produces a maximum torque of 172 Nm, the new engine’s 120 PS version develops a maximum torque of 200 Nm. The maximum torque of the new engine’s 100 PS version is yet to be disclosed.
Unlike the Kappa engine, the Smartstream engine is equipped with Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) technology that allows the engine to switch between different combustion cycles as per the load seamlessly. Also, while the old engine came with a 6-speed manual transmission, the new engine comes with a 6-speed intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT). There’s no mechanical linkage, and the clutch of the transmission is controlled electronically instead.
The Smartstream T-GDi engine, unlike the Kappa T-GDi engine, is equipped with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. Moreover, the Idle Stop & Go (ISG) system of the new Kia Rio is also an upgraded one. The new ISG system further reduces fuel consumption by shutting off the engine when both the brake and clutch pedal are depressed. The old ISG system was linked to only the clutch.
The 100 PS Kappa T-GDi engine was available with only a 5-speed manual transmission. 6-speed manual and 7-speed dual-clutch automatic have been announced as the transmission options for the 100 PS Smartstream T-GDi engine.
Customers willing to settle for a lower cost engine in the new Kia Rio facelift will be able to go for a new 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol mill featuring Dual Port Injection technology and offering maximum power of 84 PS. The sedan version of the Rio should also receive a facelift soon. Kia does not plan to launch the Rio in India.