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Car and Driver: Rio de Paris: Kia Previews Next-Gen Subcompact Before Auto-Show Debut

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When the Kia Rio first arrived in the U.S. it carried a base price under $10,000 and was among the cheapest new cars you could buy. Sixteen years later, both Kia and the Rio have grown up significantly, and the subcompact is about to enter its fourth generation, the new model set to be revealed at the Paris auto show next month. Ahead of that official debut, Kia is providing a few sketches showing off the new Rio’s interior and exterior designs, both of which appear to continue Kia’s current trend of handsome styling and upscale interior digs.

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Predictably, the Rio will be shown in its hatchback form for its European debut; the Continent doesn’t get the Rio sedan offered in our market. It looks athletic and attractive in the renderings, which admittedly exaggerate certain aspects like the wheel size and the car’s overall stance. Even so, if the production car carries the same crisply styled front grille and swept-back headlights, along with  the nicely shaped taillights and chunky C-pillar, it should be a good-looking little hatch.

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The interior looks similar to that of newer Kia products such as the Sportage crossover, with a relatively simple arrangement that places a large touchscreen in between the air vents and climate controls and a few toggle switches located lower on the center stack. Expect it to offer tech features including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, along with a few active safety systems to keep it competitive.

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Kia isn’t saying much about the new Rio’s mechanicals at this point, but we expect it to ride on a new platform that will also be shared with the next Hyundai Accent subcompact. Underhood updates should be in store, too, to improve power and fuel economy compared to the current Rio’s 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. Look for U.S.-specific information on the Rio a few months from now; European production begins at the end of this year, but we’ll have to wait a bit longer than that for the Rio to arrive in America.

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