Kia will begin its India innings with the much anticipated production-spec SP Concept SUV, which is scheduled to arrive during sometime in 2019. The Korean brand had previously confirmed four models will follow the launch of the SUV, though it has also revealed that it is facing a problem deciding which models from its extensive global line-up will be brought to India. Among the cars under consideration are the Stonic crossover and Grand Carnival MPV. One of the models that have been confirmed for our market is a sub-four-metre SUV that will share plenty with the Hyundai Carlino and slot below the production-spec SP Concept in Kia’s India line-up. There are plenty of potential candidates from Kia’s international range that could come to India; one of them, with a great potential for our market, is the Rio. Here are the five most important things to know about the model:
Could be one of the four upcoming models from Kia
The Rio could be one of the four models that are expected to arrive in India after the production version of the Kia SP Concept. At the 2018 Auto Expo and at Kia’s roadshows held for prospective dealers in the country, the brand had showcased the Rio hatchback to gauge interest in the model.
Underpinnings shared with Hyundai’s Verna
The Hyundai-Kia GB platform underpins models such as the Rio and Stonic and even Hyundai’s Verna. Despite this, the Verna has a 20mm longer wheelbase as compared to the Rio at 2,600mm, though their lengths, widths and heights are near identical. The suspension set-up – made up of independent, McPherson struts and coil springs in the front and non-independent, torsion beam and coil springs at the rear – is also shared between the two.
Probably shares engines and transmissions with the Verna too
The Rio gets a variety of petrol engine options in the international markets – a 1.6-litre, four-cylinder, naturally aspirated unit that makes 140hp and 167Nm of peak torque, a 120hp, 1.0-litre three-cylinder motor, a 84hp, 1.25-litre motor and a 1.4-litre one. The first motor mentioned gets six-speed manual and automatic transmission options while the others are all mated to a six-speed manual. The Rio hatchback that was showcased at Kia’s roadshow earlier this year had a 1.25-litre that developed 84hp and 122Nm of torque.
However, if launched in India, the Rio sedan is expected to share its engine options with the Verna currently on sale. The Hyundai car gets three engine options – a 100hp, 1.4-litre petrol, a 123hp, 1.6-litre petrol and a 128hp, 1.6-litre diesel. The 1.4-litre model is mated exclusively to a six-speed manual while the 1.6-litre engines get six-speed manual and automatic options. If the Rio arrives after the Verna facelift (scheduled for a 2020 launch), it may share the all-new BS-VI-compliant 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engines that are currently under development.
Entering the competitive mid-size sedan segment
Seeing as the Rio sedan shares so much with the Hyundai Verna (Rs 7.90-12.86 lakh), if brought here it will have the same rivals, namely the Honda City (Rs 8.77-13.88 lakh), Maruti Suzuki’s Ciaz (the facelift is expected to launch on August 20) and the Toyota Yaris (Rs 8.75-14.07 lakh). The mid-size sedan segment is expected to see the introduction of the all-new VW Vento and Skoda Rapid in 2021, which would also be rivals to the Rio sedan. The models from the VW Group will be based on the low-cost, localised MQB A0 IN platform and are expected to be powered by a locally produced 1.0 TSI engine, putting out around 116hp and a healthy 200Nm of torque.
The shared underpinnings and engine options should help Kia keep costs in check, and an expected price tag between Rs 8 lakh and Rs 13 lakh would not be amiss. However, the Korean brand has said that they are looking to position Kia as a premium brand. This could see the Rio sedan get equipment and kit that is usually reserved for larger more expensive models such as cooled seats, powered driver’s seat adjust and paddle shifters for the automatic versions. For reference, the Verna already boasts a segment-first that is ventilated seats.
Variety of body styles
Besides the hatchback (five-door) and sedan (four-door) body styles, Kia also has a cross-hatch called the K2 Cross, which is 40mm longer and 30mm wider than the hatch on which it is based. However, the K2 is sold in a few select markets like China and Russia, only. Interestingly, the international-spec Kia Stonic, which is more of a proper crossover, shares the Rio’s platform and underpinnings.
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