Tuesday, September 2, 2008


DATE - 03.09.2008

The Kia Rio is a subcompact car produced by the South Korean automaker Kia Motors and introduced in August 2000 for the 2001 model year. In the company's lineup, it replaced the smaller Kia Pride, which ceased production in 2000.

First generation

The first-generation Rio was available as a five-door hatchback and as a four-door sedan. The hatchback version was sold as the Rio RX-V (V: five in Roman numerals) in Canada, Rio Look in Chile, and simply Rio in the United Kingdom (as the sedan version was not offered there). In Greece, both hatchback and sedan were sold as Rio. In the USA, the five-door Rio was marketed as a station wagon called Rio Cinco (cinco: five in Spanish and Portuguese).

The first-generation Rio offered only one engine for each year in the USA: a 96 hp 1.5-litre DOHC I4 gasoline engine from 2001 through 2002, then a larger version of the same engine, a 1.6-litre DOHC four-cylinder rated at 105 hp (78 kW), from 2003 through 2005. All years offered a choice of a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic.

An alternative of a 1.3-litre (1325 cc) SOHC four-cylinder/eight-valve petrol (75 hp) was offered in some other countries, including the United Kingdom and Greece. A diesel engine was also available in other markets.

The USA-version hatchback came standard with power steering and a tachometer; these were optional on the sedan. However, marketing did not distinguish trim levels in the USA version.

The European version was marketed under several trim levels; standard equipment for all trims included power steering and radio. Additional features were available for promotion in Greece, including leather seats and car alarm.

Safety features were basic, consisting of seat belts and an airbag for the driver. ABS was available as an option for entry-line cars but fitted by default for top of the range models (i.e., Rio LX, in the UK, and Rio LS, in Greece).

At one time, the Rio was the cheapest new car on the U.S. market, costing only US$6995. Some US dealers even offered free base model Rios with purchase of a higher end vehicle, like the Kia Sedona minivan. In Greece, the cost was 9,990€ for the RIO LS, with pre-paid the 3-year service.

First generation facelift

Rio received a mild redesign for the 2003 model year including upgrades in engine, suspension, and brakes and other improvements with new styling outside including a different grille and headlights and inside a new instrument panel and console. In Europe, the facelift Rio received minor changes in external look and engine improvement from 75 hp (56 kW) to 83 hp (62 kW). In Iran SAIPA Corporation started montaging the facelift version of KIA Rio in 2005. SAIPA chose the 1.5 engine that produces 97 hp (72 kW) at 5500 rpm and 135 N·m (100 ft·lbf) torque at 4500 rpm.In Iran KIA Rio is well known for its acceleration but it is criticized for its noisy engine.The SAIPA version of KIA Rio lacks ABS and Airbag in addition to some other features.

Second generation

The first generation was replaced in the 2005 model year in Europe, arriving in the 2006 model year in North America. The second-generation Rio is based on a redesigned platform shared with the Hyundai Accent (prior to this, the Hyundai Accent was not related to the Rio). The engine was upgraded to a 110 hp 1.6-litre DOHC four-cylinder engine now also shared with the Hyundai Accent. Other changes include a completely new design, an increase in exterior size and interior volume, an increased number of standard safety features, better fuel economy. The hatchback was renamed to Rio5 in the USA.

The 2006 sedan offers two trim levels, the base trim (with standard tachometer) and the LX trim (adding power steering, air conditioning, and a CD player). The Rio5 (USA) offers a single trim level, the SX trim, with the features of the LX trim plus some additional vanity elements, such as a leather-covered steering wheel that suggest that Kia wishes to move the Rio upmarket. Just as in the first generation, only the five-door hatchback version is offered in some European markets (including the UK).

Three engines are available (1.6L DOHC engine 110 hp/1.4L DOHC engine 97 hp/1.5L Turbodiesel engine 109 hp). However, in the US market only the 1.6L gasoline engine is offered

(4-door-sedan)with 1.6L DOHC engine 110 hp 0-100 km/h 10.6 sec., 12.3sec. Top speed 192 km/h (119 mph), 185 km/h (115 mph) MT, AT respectively.

(5-door-hatch)with 1.6L DOHC engine 110 hp 0-100 km/h 9.9 sec., 11.9sec. Top speed 188 km/h (117 mph), 180 km/h (112 mph) MT, AT respectively.

Note: the new Rio(5Door-hatch) with 1.6L DOHC engine and manual transmission gear-box called (limited sports version)

The 2007 Kia Rio is a carryover from 2006 with minimal changes. An SX trim level has been added to the Rio sedan, which adds to the LX trim the same features supplied with the Rio5 SX.

For 2008, changes are again minimal. Kia has announced an LX trim for the Rio5, which will be equipped similarly to the Rio LX sedan.

Market and competition

Although it had some competition, the Subcompact market segment was not particularly competitive for most automakers until roughly when the second generation Kia arrived. It currently faces numerous competitors (in addition to the Hyundai Accent) such as the Chevy Aveo, the Toyota Yaris, the Honda Fit, and (to some extent) the Nissan Versa. Kia retains a moderate portion of the segment with the Rio due to its strong value, but other competitors have been dominating recently with their more popular brand names and more persistent advertising.

Hybrid version

A hybrid version of the Rio is in development, in conjunction with the development of a hybrid version of its Hyundai twin, the Hyundai Accent. Both vehicles will use hybrid technology developed by Hyundai-Kia without licensed Toyota or Honda technology. A concept model of the Kia Rio hybrid was shown at the 2007 Geneva Auto Show. The drivetrain is a lightweight design similar to Honda's power-assist hybrids, featuring regenerative braking, automatic engine shutoff when idling, and continuously variable transmission. The electric motor assists the engine in starting and accelerating but does not drive the vehicle on its own.

At present, about 4,000 pre-production Rio hybrid vehicles are being field tested by the South Korean government's fleet. The release is tentatively scheduled for the 2009 model year. The planned release date of the hybrid Rio was originally announced as the 2007 model year in North America, but was subsequently postponed to at least 2009, along with the Hyundai Accent hybrid, due to the incarceration of Hyundai's for corruption. The Rio hybrid is expected to be visually identical to the non-hybrid Rio and to achieve a price point lower than hybrids from Honda and Toyota.

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