Kia Rio (2011) first official pictures

Published: 11 February 2011

Kia is going to be busy at the 2011 Geneva motor show: it will show off the new Rio, as well as the Picanto. These are the first official pictures of the Rio, a smart, very European-looking rival to the Fiesta/Corsa/Polo ancien regime.

The new 2011 Kia Rio is bigger in every dimension, apart from height. That 70mm stretch in the wheelbase, length (+55mm) and width (+25mm) should liberate more cabin space. Kia claims a modest 292-litre boot, nigh-on identical to the Fiesta’s.

As well as the distinctive tiger-snout nose, the new Rio is the latest in a line of new-generation Kias with more than a hint of Ford’s European flavour about it, but do we also detect hints of Seat’s Ibiza and other European minis. We think that’s a good thing: on this evidence, the new Kia Rio is a smart, Eurocentric piece of design. Tied up with the company’s seven-year warranty and improving dynamics and quality, it could make an impact over here where its predecessor courted the fringes.

Kia Rio (2011): Korea’s latest supermini

Launching two new models at the Geneva show is a reminder of how resurgent the Koreans are. While the new 2011 Picanto is an A-class city car, the Rio is firmly in the B supermini segment and squares up to many established European rivals.

Engines will include a 69bhp 1.1 diesel promising emissions as low as 85g/km, while a 1.2 turbo petrol will be offered from 2012.

The new Kia Rio lands in the UK in September 2011. First up as a five-door, the three-door hatch following in spring 2012. Prices and further details will be issued nearer launch.

The Kia masterplan

Soon-Nam Lee, director of overseas marketing at the Kia Motors Corporation, said: ‘This new model is a big step forward. The Rio has always been successful, and with this new incarnation we have a car that people will want to buy for its looks.’

The Rio has sold more than 860,000 cars since launch in 2005, and was the third best-selling Kia globally last year. But now it’s catching up with the latest family look, Kia hopes to expand sales further.

What else is on the Kia stand at Geneva?

As well as the new Kia Rio and Picanto, Kia will show its Optima hybrid for the first time in Europe.

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet