The updated 2015 Kia Rio range is now on sale — at least partially — bringing to the table subtly revised styling, some minor cabin tweaks and a second round of Australia-specific ride and handling calibration.
The line-up that Kia launches this week gets a new front and rear bumper design, a new grille pattern, different alloy wheels designs, a revised centre instrument fascia and audio unit design, and metallic-look headlights. There’s also a new colour option called Urban Blue.
Unusually, the launch of the five-variant Kia Rio range will be split, with the S, S Premium and Si variants that sit at the lower- and mid-range points arriving now, and the Sport and SLi versions due to arrive around April or May.
Kicking off the range is the S, in three- and five-door configurations powered by a familiar 79kW/135Nm 1.4-litre MPI atmo engine matched to a six-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic (the latter costs an additional $2000).
Pricing remains $15,990 plus on-road costs for the three-door manual, climbing to $16,990 for the five-door.
The S Premium — a new variant to the range — adds over and above the base S features such as 15-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, electric side mirrors with indicators, cruise control, a six-speaker audio unit with dual tweeters and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob.
This version is a five-door only offering and costs $17,690 list as a manual and $19,690 with the auto, making it $700 more expensive than the S.
The familiar Si is next, and it gets a bigger 1.6-litre GDI engine with beefier (for the class) 103kW/167Nm outputs. It is now matched exclusively to a six-speed auto and comes in the five-door body only, priced at $21,490. The old Si came also with a six-speed manual for $19,490, now deleted.
According to Kia, all Rio grades get a more comfortable ride and sharper steering courtesy of its Australian-based engineering team, which tweak all Kia cars for our market’s roads. We’ll test the claims in our first review over the coming weeks.
The new Sport variant, replacing the SLS, and SLi will arrive in a few months, with details on those cars to come.
Rio sales in 2014 dropped 13.5 per cent to 7925 units, about three-times the rate of decline in the light car segment as a whole. That said, it still outsold the Ford Fiesta, Holden Barina and Volkswagen Polo.