The Kia Rio has always been a peculiar case in styling with older Rios being known more for their bland aesthetics and equally bland performance numbers. A redesign in 2012 helped bring much needed refinement and modern technology to the Rio but was chided for being cute-sy. Kia claims that it has resolved this dilemma with the 2017 Rio.
The exterior styling of the 2017 Kia Rio loudly broadcasts this, and will not be mistaken for being just another cute entry. The front fascia for example features slimmer headlights that ditch the bubble looking units for much needed aggression. Some of the gentle curves have also been shelved in favor of more flat planes which helps further enhance its styling. As a bonus, the 2017 Rio is slightly longer, wider, and shorter than the old model. Kia claims that these new dimensions also influenced the styling with the Korean firm claiming that many of the changes highlight the extra width inside and out.
Kia also touched up the Rio’s interior and has added a much nicer blend of plastics and materials that aims to eliminate complaints about the Rio’s cheap plastics. The design is sound for the most part, but the infotainment system stands out as the lone oddball of the group. Kia claims that the unit was designed to achieve a “floating” effect with the unit extending up and over the dashboard a trick also used by the Honda Civic. The good news is that Kia chose to retain physical buttons and knobs for ease of use and ergonomics, the bad news is that the overall setup looks odd with some of the buttons actually extend up with the screen. This makes the system look like it was added as an afterthought and could cause initial confusion with its overall layout.
Kia did not reveal performance information or any other specifics on the car. But unlike the British spec version (pictured) look for the U.S. grade Rio to retain its all four cylinder engine lineup with slight gains in emissions and overall performance. Look for the 2017 Kia Rio to make its formal debut at the Paris Motor Show in September with the first units arriving in U.S. showrooms sometime next year.