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The all-new 2017 Kia Rio has gained a suspension upgrade for the Australian market thanks to the brand’s local tuning expertise and insistence on delivering a car fit for the market.

Kia Motors had initially given Australian-specified Rios a more basic suspension damper setup but Kia Australia pressured the factory to equip the Rio with its RS dampers, which allow for better tuning.

With the initial batch of fourth-generation Kia Rios set to launch only with a 1.4-litre engine, the addition of RS dampers – which are expected to be standard on the more sporty 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo expected in July next year – has allowed the local arm to better tune the company’s new city car.

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“Initially we got the general market dampers, which is the rest of the world, and the RS dampers were related to the 1.0-litre turbo” Kia Australia’s head of public relations , Kevin Hepworth, told CarAdvice at today’s Paris Motor show.

“But having experience with those RS dampers in the Cerato, the tuning team were aware that they could do a much more complete job with those, so the question went for them and with pressure from our executives, they agreed to let us have the RS dampers for tuning,” Hepworth said.

CarAdvice understands that Australia becomes the only market where the 1.4-litre models are equipped with the sportier and more adjustable dampers.

Kia Australia’s continued efforts in localized tuning, in conjunction with its industry-leading seven-year warranty, has led to consistent double digit growth in the Australian market, with the brand expected to sell more than 40,000 cars this year.

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Asked if having the cars tuned for our market was an important factor for Kia owners, Hepworth said it gives the brand a genuine connection to Australian buyers.

“I think it’s incredibly important in that we can give, hand on heart, a vehicle that has been tuned for the Australian market,” he said.

“It may not translate to a general driver saying ‘how fantastic this is’, but it’s a balance between comfort and performance and ride and that’s what their aim is, it’s not to make a racing car out of it, it’s to get a balance that is comfortable in the city and if you want to give it a little push along in the country it’s going to be safe and balanced for you to do it in.”

The all-new Rio will be available in January next year.

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