After an early peek at the five-door model at the 2016 Paris auto show, the North American 2018 Kia Rio finally makes landfall inin both hatchback and sedan configurations.
Globally, the new Rio will be “powered by a range of gasoline and diesel engines” including a three-cylinder 1.0-liter T-GDI engine, but the North American model will only be available with the holdover naturally aspirated 1.6-liter four-banger. Interestingly the stated peak output of 119 pound-feet of torque and 130 horsepower is down by 8 ponies from the previous generation, but Kia claims better responsiveness and low-speed driving dynamics which could make it feel more potent in the city.
Hey, Mazda has proven that sacrificing a bit of peak power for better driveability and efficiency can work. So it could work for Kia, but we’ll have to wait for detailed specs and mpg estimates to be announced — and, of course, hit the road — before we can be sure.
2018 Kia Rio sedan shows a little Tiger…
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Power makes its way to the front wheels via either an automatic or manual transmission, both offer six-speeds. Keeping the wheels planted is a new suspension that uses the same configuration as before — McPherson struts up front and torsion beam rear — but uses a new geometry that the automaker claims boosts comfort and handling.
Much of the credit for the Rio’s new interior and exterior design goes to the automaker’s design centers in Germany and California, as the Korean automaker continues to refine its offerings for Europe and America. According to Kia, the new Rio is “designed and engineered to appeal to more people than ever before.”
Both models grow about half an inch in total length and less than half of that is within the wheelbase, but the more upright stance of the Rio seems to allow more efficient use of the footprint. To that end, the Rio’s cabin and interior have grown a bit. Cargo capacity grows to 13.7 cubic feet for the sedan or 17.4 cubic for the five-door hatchback and the automaker now claims the most spacious cabin in this class at 89.9 cubic feet and 90.5 cubic feet of passenger volume for the sedan and hatch, respectively.
Inside that cabin, you’ll find a dashboard that features an optional 7-inch UVO 3 infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration along with other new tech and connectivity features. The Rio also claims to be the first car in its B-segment class to offer autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian recognition. I thought that accolade belonged to the Scion iA (well, now the), but it appears that Kia’s claim hinges on the competition’s lack of pedestrian detection specifically.
The more spacious and more attractive 2018 Kia Rio will go on sale globally during the first quarter of 2017, and in the US shortly thereafter.
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