Kia Motors has just given the fourth-generation Rio hatchback a mid-cycle update. Aside from some minor styling changes, the attractive B-segment hatchback will be offered with the brand’s first 48V mild-hybrid powertrain.

Dubbed “EcoDynamics+”, the new mild-hybrid powertrain pairs Kia’s new Smartstream 1.0-litre T-GDi engine with a 48V Mild-Hybrid Starter Generator (MHSG) unit to provide both improved performance – up to 16% higher peak torque – and fuel efficiency.

Updated Kia Rio rear three-quarter view

Horsepower figures, though, are unchanged from the Kappa engines it replaces – the Smartstream engines will be available in either 100 hp or 120 hp guises. Kia says more detailed information and performance figures will be published at a later date.

The new EcoDynamics+ powertrain will be paired to the brand’s Intelligent Manual Transmission (IMT) featuring a “clutch-by-wire” technology, meaning there are no mechanical linkages between the gearbox, clutch pedal, and gear shifter. Kia says that this allows for the engine to be automatically shut off during coasting, resulting in overall better fuel economy, while not discounting on driver engagement.

Updated Kia Rio side view

The aforementioned 100 hp Smartstream engine is also available in a non-mild-hybrid set-up, along with an updated 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated engine, good for 84 hp. The former will now be offered with a new six-speed manual transmission (previously five), as well as a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

On the styling changes, subtlety is the word here – with most changes reserved to the front. The brand’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille has been narrowed for a “more focused appearance”, while the reshaped lower bumper pushes the fog lamp housings more towards the side, giving off a wider look, thus improving stance on the road.

Updated Kia Rio GT Front

All variants now get LED headlights with LED daytime running lights as standard. There’s also a newly designed 16-inch alloy wheels to go with the new exterior hues –  Perennial Grey and Sporty Blue. Meanwhile, the GT Line for the updated Kia Rio looks pretty-much identical to the one launched back in 2018.

The cabin of the updated Kia Rio is also virtually identical to its predecessor, save for the new eight-inch floating infotainment display. Depending on trim level, the infotainment system can be specified in either a Display Audio or Satellite Navigation form, the latter carrying the brand’s new UVO Connect ‘Phase II’ telematics system.

Updated Kia Rio interior

The new system offers various on-board connected services including live traffic information, weather forecasts, points of interest (POIs), fuel prices, parking availability and information, as well as online voice recognition for better voice command functions.

The ‘Phase II’ UVO mobile application also allows owners to activate a range of functions and features remotely (depending on region), including sending navigation routes to the car before journey, and accessing vehicle location and other telematics and diagnostic information.

Lastly, Kia also included an updated suite of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) on the new Rio, which now includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with pedestrian, vehicle and newly introduced cyclist recognition, Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), and Blind Collision Warning (BCW) as standard.

Depending on variant, the ADAS suite can also be specified with Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), Intelligent Speed Limit Warning (ISLW), Smart Cruise Control (SCC), and Lane Following Assist (LFA), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA) and Rear Occupant Alert (ROA).

Locally, the Kia Rio was last updated in late 2018, featuring a new six-speed automatic gearbox (up from the outdated four-speed slushbox), smaller wheels at 16-inches, and some added safety and convenience features.


Previous articleThe Ford Interceptor police vehicle can self-sanitise its cabin and disinfect touch points
Next articleVideo: 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport, 5 Things
Believes that a car is more than just numbers and facts, it's about the emotions they convey. Any car can be the right car for someone, but he'll probably pick a hot hatch over anything else.