This week Surf and Sunshine checked out the nearly 1,000 vehicles at the New York International Auto Show and stood alongside Kia as they revealed their fourth generation global best seller, Rio. The New York International Auto Show is North America’s first and largest-attended auto show since 1900, and it is where the auto industry displays their newest and most exciting vehicles for the coming year.

Kia ranked highest among all automotive industry nameplates in the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS), and it was the first time in almost three decades that a non-luxury brand has led the industry in this study. It was a major milestone for Kia, and they have been working tirelessly to continue to live up to their ranking. From brand new designs to revamping of old favorites, Kia is always thinking about what best suits their consumers, and it is why they are improving upon their most economical car, the Rio.

2018 Kia Rio

After a successful unveiling of the Stinger at the North American International Auto Show earlier this year, Kia has proven that they are anything but predictable. As a five passenger fastback sports sedan, it is the highest performance production vehicle in Kia’s history and a major stride for this rising star of the auto world. Dedication to their customer base is their inspiration to constantly provide vehicles that fit almost every lifestyle and budget. From the lead foot to the family in need of space, Kia never stops redesigning and reinventing.

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2018 Kia Stinger

That is why they are releasing the fourth generation Rio. This efficient, compact car has been stretched and tweaked to offer more space, an updated interior, and technology to make every day safer and more enjoyable…all within your budget. The Vice President of Product Planning, Orth Hedrick, proudly tells consumers that the “fourth generation Rio makes significant improvements over its predecessor in design, technology and passenger comfort, resulting in an even better value proposition for our customers, while raising the bar in the small-car segment.”

The Rio’s exterior has had a facelift and features the modern Kia “Tiger Nose” grille and sharp body lines to give it a more sporty feel, but the increased space adds more comfort and freedom in this generation. In the sedan, the length has been stretched to 172.6 inches from 172.0, and in the 5 door hatchback it has gone from 159.4 inches to 160.0 inches. Both models have a longer wheelbase and a lower, wider body for a well balanced, capable design. 

Its interior design has sleek horizontal lines across the dashboard giving it a spacious feel. The clean, simple design gives it a more modern look than other generations, and the dash is setup with everything you need including a bi-level tray to hold your smartphones and tablets. A seven inch touchscreen interface and UVO3 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto provides a convenient tech hub in the top trim, and you can also choose from Bluetooth® hands-free functionality, a 6 speaker stereo with satellite radio and rear view camera.

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When you get in, you will also notice much more room as well as a more ergonomic design with extra padding in the seats to help minimize driver fatigue. For passengers, the sedan has 89.9 cubic feet in passenger space, and the hatchback measures at 90.5 cubic feet. There is also more cargo space with 13.7 cubic feet in the sedan and 17.4 cubic feet in the 5 door (32.8 cubic feet when the seats are folded down in the hatchback).

The 1.6 liter GDI four cylinder engine has an improved fuel efficiency and an increased responsiveness that maintains a steady pick up with 130 horsepower and 119 lb./ft of torque. High strength steel has made the car more durable but lighter which gives it better handling and a smoother ride quality. The Rio comes standard with six airbags, side impact door beams, Electronic Stability Control, a four wheel Anti-lock Brake System, Hill- start Assist Control and Vehicle Stability Management.

It also offers new safety features such as autonomous braking in both the Sedan and Hatchback models. This new generation is also targeting the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick designation and a 5 star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is available in three trims – LX, EX and SX as the highest. The Rio proves that affordable is anything but basic.

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With plenty of space for four passengers and just enough room for the occasional fifth, the Rio is the answer to small families or those in need of a second car that don’t require the space of a crossover. While other companies will use the magic of marketing to talk people into believing they need a gas-guzzling storage shed on wheels, the Kia Rio is an honest option for those searching for a practical car that won’t strain their budget while still offering high end technology and a modern interior. See more first looks for the 2018 Kia Rio on on Twitter and Facebook with #KiaRioNYC.


We were hosted by Kia Motors America. All opinions remain our own.

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