2012 Kia Rio Revealed, Q3 Australian Launch Likely Photo:
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Mike Stevens | Feb, 11 2011 | 8 Comments

Kia has revealed the next-generation 2012 Rio hatch this week, following a pair of teaser illustrations issued early last month.

Set for a global unveiling at next month's Geneva Motor Show, the new Rio represents another design leap for the Korean carmaker, following the launch in January of the stylish new 2011 Optima sedan.

The new Rio draws design cues from across the Kia range, with the company's 'Schreyer Line' family grille design, large angular headlights and a front bumper styled in line with the recently-revealed Picanto city car.

Depending on the market and specification, the new Rio will be offered in five- and three-door hatch styles, along with a four-door sedan version.

At Geneva, Kia will display the five-door variant shown here, with its three- and four-door versions set for global unveilings in the following months.

"This new model is a big step forward. The Rio has always been successful, and with this new incarnation we have a car which is extremely attractive, that people will want to buy for its looks," Kia Director of Overseas Marketing, Soon-Nam Lee said today.

The new Kia offers a wheelbase 70mm longer than its predecessor, promising greater cabin space for front and rear passengers. The cargo capacity has also grown, now measuring 292 litres for the five-door hatch (rear seats up) and 390 litres for the sedan.

While the new Rio's interior has yet to be revealed, Kia says we can expect a level of quality "usually associated with larger models," along with a broad range of trim options and features.

Internationally, the new Rio will be offered with six petrol and diesel engine variants, from a 51kW 1.1 litre diesel engine through to a 103kW 1.6 litre GDI petrol engine.

Importantly for Kia as it continues its push for young buyers, the new Rio will also benefit from an all-new 1.2 litre turbocharged GDI petrol engine, available in Europe from 2012.



Speaking with TMR today, Kia Australia's Kevin Hepworth confirmed an Australian launch for Kia's new light car.

"We're looking at a third quarter launch this year for the five-door hatch, that's the most likely time frame," Mr Hepworth said.

"The three- and four door models will be revealed later in the year, and while neither is confirmed for Australia, both are under consideration."

It remains unclear which of the Rio's six available engines will be offered in Australia, although the more powerful 1.6 litre petrol engine would undoubtedly give the new Rio the best footing against its competitors.

Whether a diesel option will be made available in Australia is still to be seen. Kia's struggles to keep global diesel orders filled suggests that a diesel Rio may be some time off.

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