2017 Kia Rio Seen Undergoing Winter Testing

2017 Kia Rio 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
The 3rd and current generation of the Kia Rio has been doing well in Europe. However, competition is always tough in the subcompact segment, and the Korean brand now needs an all-new car to have a chance against models like the Opel Corsa, Skoda Fabia and Ford Fiesta.
Our spies stationed in Northern Sweden have caught up with a heavily camouflaged test prototype for the 2017 Kia Rio. It's cramming in a few more winter tests before making its official debut later this year, most likely at the Paris Motor Show.

Despite being covered in a black tarp and a thick layer of vinyl, we can see that the styling has changed in several ways. Kia can never be accused of making dull cars, and the Korean brand tries to reinvent all designs with each generation. Such was the case recently with the Sportage SUV and Optima mid-sized sedan.

The front end of the 2017 Rio seems to resemble that of the current Kia Forte model, although there should be several different versions of the Rio, depending on the market. The headlights will be available as projectors, and they may even have a full-LED option based on what we see in the spy video. The rear bumper seems to have a diffuser-like feature, and the taillights are very broad. Either they are cut in two by the opening of the trunk or the gate is stretched a la Opel Insignia and Audi Q5.

The general dimensions of this 5-door hatchback seem slightly bigger than before, and the wheelbase is indeed stretched. As with the Forte, the focus may be placed on offering more standard or optional features than we traditionally expect from this segment. For example, we see turn signals integrated into the mirrors and all-round parking sensors, likely linked to an autonomous parking option.

The new Rio will be available with its first 1-liter turbocharged engine. This 3-cylinder unit will feature a turbocharged intercooler and will be shared with the Carens. No word on gearbox options yet, but we'd like to see the old 4-speed being replaced by the 6-speed dual clutch unit Kia has developed.

About a month ago, the company confirmed that a hot version of the Rio was approved. It will be called the Rio GT and go on sale in 2018 with a 1.6-liter turbo delivering around 180 horsepower.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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