Update: Kia Rio Review.
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The all-new fourth-generation 2012 Kia Rio has just been unveiled at the 2011 Australia International Motor Show featuring a whole new look, significant technological and powertrain advances plus a revised interior.

The new 2012 Kia Rio marks the end of a model cycle update for the Korean giant that has spent the last two and bit years making some serious headway in both styling and quality. The once cheap and cheerful brand from Korea has released some of the best looking vehicles on Australian roads in recent times.

The new Rio is yet another example of the new Kia design philosophy. Taking a great deal of inspiration from the Cerato and even the Optima, the new Rio is certainly a good looker.

Although it’s still very much destined to fight for marketshare in the light-car segment, the new Kia Rio’s wheelbase has grown by 70mm (2570mm). As a result, it’s now 55mm longer (4045mm), 25mm wider (1720mm) and 15mm lower (1455mm).

Full details of the model range have not been released yet, but we do know that even the base model comes standard with tilt & telescopic steering wheel adjustment, 6 airbags (dual front , front side & curtain), ESC with 4-wheel disc brake and Vehicle Stability Management with Hill-start Assist Control.

Given its target market, the Rio also features excellent support for multimedia with a four-speaker system capable of CD, radio & USB/AUX/iPod connectivity with built in Bluetooth telephone support (we are still waiting on word from Kia if that also includes Bluetooth audio streaming).

In order to compete in all sub-categories of the light-car segment, the new Rio will be available in 3,4 and 5 door body shapes. Kia Australia will initially launch just the 5-door Rio in August with the other two body styles to follow early next year.

Power will come from either a 1.4-litre MPI 4-cylinder petrol engine (79kW at 6300rpm and 135Nm at 4200rpm) or a larger 1.6-litre Gamma GDi petrol engine (103kW at 6300rpm and 167Nm at 4850rpm). Needless to say, given the small and the relatively low weight of the Rio (kerb weight to be confirmed), a 100kW powerplant sounds rather enticing.

Both engines will be available with a six-speed manual transmission. The smaller capacity 1.4-litre engine can be optioned with a four-speed auto and the 1.6-litre GDI is available with a more modern six-speed automatic. Thanks to a range of technological feats and a better gearbox, the larger capacity GDI engine is actually more fuel efficient in automatic guise than the 1.4-litre (6.1 vs 6.3L/100km).

If you plan on ticking a few options, you can equip your new Rio with 16 or 17-inch alloy wheels (pictured), front fog lamps, supervision cluster with dot-matrix display, cruise control, LED Day-time Running Lights and LED rear combination lamps.

The big question will be how the new Rio will perform on Australian roads. The Korean company says it has carried out extensive local testing to fine tune the vehicle for our market. The official launch of the new 2012 Kia Rio is in August, stay tuned for a full review.

2012 Kia Rio Specifications:

Engines / Gasoline

1.4-litre 79kW
Type: MPi Petrol DOHC, four-cylinder, dual CVVT – Capacity: 1,396cc
79 kW @ 6,300 rpm / 135Nm @ 4,200 rpm

1.6-litre 103kW
Type: GDi Petrol DOHC, four-cylinder, dual CVVT Capacity: 1,591cc
103 kW @ 6,300 rpm / 167 Nm @ 4,850 rpm


  • 1.4 and 1.6
  • Manual / speeds 6 and 6
  • Automatic / speeds 4 and 6

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
  • Turning circle: 10.52 metres (minimum)

Brakes S / Si SLi

  • Front 256 x 22mm vent. discs 280 x 22mm vent. discs
  • Rear 262 x 10mm solid discs 262 x 10mm solid discs

Wheels & Tyres

  • 15 in x 5.5J 185/65 R15 tyres
  • 16 in x 6.0J 195/55 R16 tyres
  • 17 in x 6.5J 205/45 R17 tyres



  • Overall length 4045 Overall width 1720 (ex. door mirrors)
  • Overall height 1455 Wheelbase 2570
  • Front overhang 805 Rear overhang 670
  • Front track 1521 Rear track 1525

Interior Front Rear

  • Headroom 1015 960
  • Legroom 1112 790
  • Shoulder room 1350 1324


  • Fuel tank (litres) 43.0
  • Luggage (VDA) 288 litres


  • 1.4 (MT) 1.4(AT) 1.6 (MT) 1.6 (AT)
  • Top speed / km/h 183 170 190 190
  • 0-to-100 km/h / sec 11.5 13.2 10.2 10.3


  • 1.4 (MT) 1.4(AT) 1.6 (MT) 1.6 (AT)
  • Litres / 100 km 5.7 6.3 5.6 6.1
  • CO2 emissions 135 150 133 145