Kia has released full details on the 2018 Rio in both sedan and hatchback form. The Rio is a subcompact that aims to re-ignite interest in the market.

“Value has always been a core tenet for the Kia brand and the all-new Rio sedan and 5-door continue to underscore our commitment to buyers looking for an entry-level vehicle but desire more than what the subcompact segment offers,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning, KMA.  “This fourth-generation Rio makes significant improvements over its predecessor in design, technology and passenger comfort, resulting in an even better value proposition, while raising the bar in the small-car segment.”

Kia says that the Rio is inspired by European automotive deaign. This new generation is longer in both vehicle length and wheelbase. “Rio’s exterior is defined by crisp lines and smooth surfaces, providing a more sophisticated and sporty appearance over the previous generation.  The front end wears the latest iteration of Kia’s ‘tiger-nose’ grille, integrating newly designed headlights that are swept back for a more aggressive appearance.”

Inside, the larger exterior dimensions mean more interior room, says Kia. The sedan’s passenger space is 89.9 cubic feet while the 5-door hatchback measures 90.5 cubic feet. This translates into more head, leg, and shoulder room for front occupants. Cargo space is now measured at 13.7 cubic feet in the sedan and 17.4 cubic feet in the hatchback. Kia is also offering an expanded number of technical features for infotainment and connectivity in the 2018 Rio.

The powertrain for the Kia Rio remains largely the same, with just a few upgrades for the 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder engine. A six-speed manual transmission is standard in lower trims and a six-speed automatic is available or standard in others. Fuel economy is rated at 28 city/37 highway/32 combined with the automatic in both the 5-door and the sedan. That’s a 1 mpg improvement over the outgoing Rio.

Underneath this is a new platform: “The Rio’s all-new platform is not only dimensionally larger than the previous generation model, but is now underpinned by completely new suspension geometry.  Weighing in at just 2,648 lbs. (manual transmission) and 2,714 lbs. (automatic transmission), engineers sought to refine the driving experience with more agile handling and improved ride comfort, and this was achieved by designing a fully-independent MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam rear axle.  The new Rio sedan and Rio 5-door also benefit from a revised spring and damper setup that helps make the car more compliant and comfortable.  Stopping power comes from 11-inch disc brakes up front and drum brakes in the rear, while the EX model is outfitted with 11-inch disc brakes up front and 10.3-inch rear disc brakes. And, for the first time, Rio is offered with available Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB). In total, all these enhancements deliver crisp and nimble handling and improve overall driver confidence.”

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An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP) and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.

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