2012 KIA RIO
As one of the oldest models in Kia's line-up, the ageing second-generation Kia Rio is moving closer to retirement. This week, new spy photos reveal that, like its siblings, Kia has a styling revolution planned for the new 2012 Rio.
As with the Cerato, Soul, Sportage and Sorrento - along with the upcoming Optima, launching in Australia later this month - the new Rio will feature Kia's new family grille design, likely surrounded by long, sharp headlights.
The styling of the new Rio was crafted by former Aston Martin and Ford designer Massimo Frascella (who also penned the new Sportage), under the watchful eye of Kia's design boss Peter Schreyer, responsible for the first-generation Audi TT and a number of Audi's passenger cars.
Scheduled for a mid-2011 local launch, Kia's new Rio light car is also expected to benefit from a longer wheelbase and a roomier interior.
How much larger the new Rio will be is unclear: with the current model's wheelbase a mere 150mm shorter than the Cerato, any significant growth could bring the new Rio perilously close to cannibalising Cerato sales - itself only recently launched in a hatch style.
The third-generation Rio is not merely new on the outside, but also beneath, where it features a brand-new platform shared with no other offering from either Kia or its partner Hyundai.
An international launch date for the 2012 Rio has yet to be confirmed, but with a mid-year Australian debut planned, an unveiling at March's Geneva Auto Show is a strong chance.
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