Kia’s entry-level sedan and hatchback Rio will last until 2021, and may receive the same style and technical updates as European-spec models. Kia told C/D that the 2021 model will start production at the end of this year. Among the many models cancelled recently, including Chevrolet Sonic, Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris, Rio Tinto will continue to compete in the shrinking small car market in 2021.
Although detailed information is not yet available that meets US specifications, we believe Rio Tinto’s 2021 journey to our shores will be similar to the recently revised European models shown here. Compared with Rio Tinto, which currently arrived in the United States in 2018, it has adjusted the front and rear styling and has a more modern interior with an upgraded infotainment system. However, what we may not get is the newly launched 48-volt hybrid powertrain. Available in Europe.
Currently, the American version of Rio Tinto offers a 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission. The powertrain may remain unchanged in 2021, and the body styles of cars and hatchbacks will be the same. We can expect the price to increase slightly compared to the 2020 model, with the starting price of the sedan at $16,815 and the starting price of the hatchback at $17,455.
Hyundai and Kia rio have made us accustomed to comprehensive renovations in recent years, and the 2021 Rio supercar is no exception.
The fourth-generation Rio Tinto received major upgrades in the mid-term update, including styling adjustments, “large car” safety and infotainment technology, and Kia's first gasoline 48-volt mild hybrid system.
In the appearance department, the 2021 Kia Rio adopted subtle external upgrades, including a narrower “tiger nose” grille, a lower and wider front bumper, a new fog lamp cover, and a new all-LED with integrated DRL Headlights.
Kia also introduced two new colors: Perennial Gray and Sport Blue, bringing the total number of paint options to nine. The new 16-inch alloy with eight-spoke design further completes the appearance.
Inside, the refreshed Rio brings visual, material and technical upgrades, thereby creating a more upscale atmosphere and improving quality. The most obvious update is the new 8.0-inch touch screen and a higher-resolution 4.2-inch digital display in the instrument cluster.
The modified sub-compact car is equipped with an upgraded infotainment system with Bluetooth multi-connection function, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on models equipped with an 8.0-inch display audio system, and UVO Connect “second stage” remote Information processing function.
Kia also offers new interior customization options, available in a new blue suit, with colorful seat cushions, dashboard and door armrests, and contrast stitching. The GT-Line models feature a black monotonous interior, white contrast piping and stitching on the seats, and a carbon fiber effect dashboard. In addition, all 2021 Kia Rio models are now equipped with driver and optional front passenger seat height adjustability.
In 2021, Kia Li became the brand's first vehicle powered by a gasoline mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV) powertrain. Called “EcoDynamics+”, it pairs Kia's new “Smartstream” 1.0-liter T-GDi (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) three-cylinder engine with a 48V MHEV system, which improves fuel efficiency through electric torque assist and regenerative braking .
Shared with the new Hyundai i20 is that the electric Smartstream engine has the same power output as the previous Kappa engine: 100 PS (99 HP) or 120 PS (118 HP). However, more powerful devices can now provide 200 Nm (147 lb-ft) peak torque 16% higher. Overall, Kia claims that the new EcoDynamics+ powertrain reduces Rio Tinto’s carbon dioxide emissions by 8.1% to 10.7% in the combined NEDC cycle. The two mild hybrid powertrains will be equipped with a driving mode selection system consisting of economy, sport and normal modes.
The new Rio EcoDynamics + is also one of Kia's first models to adopt the brand's new intelligent manual transmission (iMT). Instead of a mechanical linkage, the clutch of iMT is completely electronically controlled. According to Kia, it contributes to the higher fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions of the MHEV system, while retaining the driver engagement of the traditional manual transmission.
In addition to the two EcoDynamics + mild hybrid vehicles, customers can also choose a revised Smartstream regular gasoline engine, including 100 PS (99 HP) 1.0-liter T-GDi unit and 84 PS (83 HP) naturally aspirated 1.2 L power plant. The turbocharged engine comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, while a seven-speed automatic dual clutch transmission (7DCT) is optional. Kia said it has also upgraded Rio de Janeiro's Idle Stop (ISG) system, which is now brake-connected instead of clutch-connected to further save fuel.
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