Chicago's gleaming skyline and indie rock music were the backdrops as Kia Motors America (KMA) pulled the wraps off the 2016 Rio Sedan at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. Making its global debut alongside the previously introduced Rio 5-Door (Paris, 2014), these two modern and dynamic subcompacts are the entry points into KMA's ever-expanding lineup of award-winning cars and CUVs. Refreshed inside and out for the 2016 model year, the pair offer sporty European design cues and generous interior accommodations while providing fuel efficiency. Both Sedan and 5-Door are expected to go on sale in the first quarter of 2015.
"The Rio signifies everything the Kia brand has evolved into since coming to the U.S. market more than 20 years ago," said Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning. "And like the brand, the Rio has grown up as it enters the 2016 model year. Its sophisticated design has been refreshed and both models continue to offer a long list of standard features, making the Sedan and 5-Door standouts in an otherwise pedestrian subcompact segment."
Most visible of the Rio's updates are the new-for-2016 front and rear fascias. Designed to add visual width and stronger presence, the revised grille insert incorporates the now-familiar geometric pattern found on other Kia vehicles such as Optima and Soul. New fog light surrounds include strong horizontal satin-finish bezels that house projector lenses. The lights have been repositioned inward for a more aggressive appearance. Likewise, the lower front valance integrates strong horizontal planes that echo a similar treatment at the rear. The rear reflectors have been redesigned and repositioned to the far corners of the car, and the Rio's color palette has been enhanced with two new colors: Urban Blue and Digital Yellow.
Inside, the enhancements continue with the increased use of high-density foam in the A- and B-pillars for reduced NVH, new technology features, premium touch points and available two-tone Designer Package (EX only). Subtle changes include satin-finish bezels around the air vents, and a new piano black center console surround wraps the audio system and ancillary controls. The EX Designer Package includes unique black cloth with gray leatherette trim with gray stitching. Gray padded door panel inserts, unique gray stitching on steering wheel, center console armrest and shifter boot all contribute to a sporty, premium-feeling interior.
Both models continue to be offered in three trim levels: LX, EX and the top-line SX. Standard equipment on LX includes rear disc brakes, air conditioning, electric power steering, six-way manual adjustable driver's seat, SiriusXMÂ® satellite radio, USB and auxiliary audio jacks, steering wheel mounted audio controls, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC). The popular LX Power Package continues to be available with power windows and door locks, along with keyless entry. The stand-alone option of a six-speed automatic transmission (standard on Rio 5-Door) also includes Active eco system and BluetoothÂ® wireless technology.
Stepping up to the EX adds appealing standard features such as power windows with driver's one-touch auto-up/down control, cruise control with steering-wheel mounted controls, remote keyless entry with trunk release and a tilt/telescope steering column. Two new option packages are available on EX: Appearance and Designer, while the continuing Eco Package now includes Kia's updated UVO eServices Telematics system with integrated backup camera display.
The range-topping SX adds a dash of sportiness to Kia's entry-level Sedan and 5-Door models. Standard amenities build upon the EX and include a sport tuned suspension highlighted by 17-inch alloy wheels and 11-inch ventilated front disc brakes, steering column-mounted paddle shifters and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Rear backup camera display, Supervision meter cluster, an upgraded navigation system with new interface and improved graphics with SiriusÂ® XM Traffic, pushbutton start, leather seating surfaces with front seat heaters and a power sunroof are all standard.
The 2016 Rio continues to be powered by an efficient 1.6-liter normally aspirated inline-four cylinder engine routing 138 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 123 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,850 rpm to the front wheels. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the sedan while a six-speed automatic is standard on the 5-Door. The six-speed manual is no longer offered in the Rio 5-Door.