A look at the new KIA Rio in South Africa – with pricing

KIA Motors South Africa has launched its refreshed and revised KIA Rio range, featuring enhancements to its exterior design and increased standard specification across the range.

Originally launched locally in 2017, the updates to the Rio range repositions KIA’s hatchback in the highly competitive B-segment of the local market.

“The Rio has been a popular and important model in the KIA line-up for nearly a decade,” said Gary Scott, chief executive of  KIA Motors South Africa.

“With a refreshed design aesthetic and better infotainment and connectivity features, we have opted to build on the Rio’s key strengths and augment the inherent practicality and quality of the model. We are confident that the refreshed KIA Rio will exceed all expectations.”

A clean exterior

Exterior design updates for Rio’s mid-life refresh has been kept to a minimum, with the bulk of the design enhancements concentrated at the front of the car. Rio retains its ‘tiger-nose’ grille, narrowed for a more focused appearance.

The grille redesign is matched by a lower, wider front bumper and distinctive new fog lamp housing.

“Exterior updates may appear minimal, but in combination, Rio now has a smoother, yet more purposeful and sporty appearance,” said Stephen Crosse, sales director, KIA Motors South Africa.

“To showcase the refreshed design, two new colour choices are on offer: Perennial Grey metallic and Sporty Blue metallic.”

Intelligent design extends further than just aesthetics, which includes the inherent safety design of its body shell, which comprises 51% Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) to give Rio the structural integrity required to keep occupants safe in case of an accident.

AHSS is used to reinforce the A- and B-pillars, side sills, the roof structure, engine bay and floor pan in order to also aid the more effective distribution of impact forces.

A more intuitive, connected interior

Interior enhancements have been kept to the minimum, and the Rio’s interior ergonomics remain intact. The main update is an upgrade of the colour touchscreen interface from 7-inches to 8-inches – which is now also standard across the Rio range.

Front passengers also benefit from the standard USB and auxiliary-in ports, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability – as much convenience as a safety feature in the mobile-first reality.

All models feature steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free telephony.

Familiar powerplants

KIA Motors South Africa has opted to retain the powerplants that have done duty in the Rio since its launch in 2017.

As such, Rio is still available with a choice between 1.25-litre and 1.4-litre MPI (multi-point injection) petrol engines.

The 1.25-litre engine produces peak power of 61 kW at 6,000 r/min and 120 Nm torque at 4,000 r/min.

The 1.4-litre engine produces 73 kW at 6,300 r/min and 135 Nm torque at 4,200 r/min.

Both engines apply power to the front wheels, either through a five-speed manual transmission (on the Rio 1.2) or a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission (on the Rio 1.4-litre).

More features, more value

The refreshed Rio range also retains four specification grades. Along with driver’s and passenger’s airbags (including side and curtain airbags in the TEC model), the Rio features front seatbelt pre-tensioners with load limiters, side door impact beams front and rear, child locks, and impact sensing door unlocking.

ISOFIX child seat anchors are standard across the range, as is Anti-lock Braking System (ABS). Importantly, ESC (Electronic Stability Control) and HAC (Hill-start Assist Control) is now available from the LX grade onwards.

As an entry point to the Rio range, KIA still offers the Rio 1.2 LS but, importantly, have added a 1.4-litre LS model to the range, in manual and automatic.

Standard specification on the LS grade includes air-conditioning (manual), electric windows, electric side mirrors, central locking with an alarm and immobiliser, six speakers (up from four speakers), steering wheel-mounted remote audio controls, rake and reach adjustable steering, and manual headlight adjustment.

The Rio LX – which is only available with the 1.4-litre engine – notably gains front fog lights, a centre console armrest, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear-shift lever, and a new 4.2-inch LCD Supervision instrument cluster.

Side mirrors now include an auto folding function with integrated indicators, while the vehicle’s lighting system gains automatic light control with an escort and Welcome Home function.

The Rio EX – also available only with the 1.4-litre engine – includes projection headlamps, LED Daytime Running Lights, and a rear park assistance system with integrated rearview camera, and is also visually updated by the standard inclusion of a 17-inch alloy wheel (upgraded from the previous model’s 15-inch wheel).

The KIA Rio TEC remains the halo model in the Rio range. Also available only with the 1.4-litre engine, it gains features over the EX model such as automatic air-conditioning, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, LED rear combination lamps, Cruise Control, an electro chromatic rear-view mirror, alloy pedals and leather upholstery.


  • KIA Rio 1.2 LS Manual – R280,995
  • KIA Rio 1.4 LS Manual – R291,995
  • KIA Rio 1.4 LS Auto  – R308,995
  • KIA Rio 1.4 LX Manual – R306,995
  • KIA Rio 1.4 LX Auto – R323,995
  • KIA Rio 1.4 EX Manual – R319,995
  • KIA Rio 1.4 EX Auto – R336,995
  • KIA Rio 1.4 TEC Manual  – R344,995
  • KIA Rio 1.4 TEC Auto – R361,995

The KIA Rio TEC may also be ordered with a factory-fitted sunroof as an option (R8,000).

Read: 10 cars you can buy for under R180,000 in South Africa right now

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A look at the new KIA Rio in South Africa – with pricing