Posts Tagged ‘2012 kia rio’

Kia Nabs Design Awards

More feathers for design chief Schreyer's bonnet.

by on Jul.06, 2012

The new Kia Rio lands a double accolade.

Kia, the ambitious South Korean automaker, has walked off with two major awards in the U.S. and Germany for the design of the subcompact Rio with its sculpted, sloping shoulder lines and wedge-shaped exteriors.

The first of the two new awards came from the first IDEA Design Award in the Transportation category, the second trophy a highly coveted Red Dot Design award.

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The IDEA Award is handed out by the Industrial Design Society of America and recognizes designs that affect a person’s quality of life and economy in 18 categories, including Transportation, Design, Technology, and Design Strategy.


Kia and Antenna Take to the Surf

Where’s the board go?

by on Oct.27, 2011

Antenna magazine works with Kia to come up with the modern surf buggy.

We’re still waiting to see who comes up with the first dune buggy based on the latest generation of the Volkswagen Beetle.  In the meantime, we’ll be happy to head for the beach in this tricked-out 2012 Kia Rio5 pulled together by Antenna magazine – which will make its debut at the upcoming SEMA Show.

We’re not quite sure what the green stuff growing in the corner is, but we’re assuming it’s not medical marijuana.  As for the rest of the revisions, Antenna and Kia seem to believe that surfers are an organized bunch, incorporating some well-placed shelves and drawers for sneakers, swimsuits and, we’re assuming, wet suits.

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What we don’t seem to see is a place for surfboards.  Perhaps the rack will be added in time for the SEMA event, which begins later this month in Las Vegas.

There’s a retro touch, the Antenna Kia Rio5 working in not only an old Atari game console but also a turntable.  Remember records?


First Drive: 2012 Kia Rio Hatchback

First mainstream use of gas-saving Stop/Start technology.

by on Oct.26, 2011

The 2012 Kia Rio 5-door matches its mileage numbers with a distinctive design.

Long an afterthought in the American marketplace, Korean carmaker Kia is rapidly emerging from the shadows of its better-known sibling Hyundai.  And the 2012 Kia Rio hatchback is proof why.

This impressive new entry into the fast-growing subcompact segment is the maker’s latest to get 40 miles per gallon on the highway out of its direct-injected four-cylinder engine.  Give some of that credit to Kia’s introduction of breakthrough Stop/Start technology that can boost fuel economy as much as 5% — the first time this system has been offered in a mainstream U.S. product.

But while mileage may today be one of the first boxes buyers check when shopping for a new car, there are other key factors in the decision process and Kia comes to the front there, as well.

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Stylish on the outside and roomy on the inside, the new Rio is the handiwork of Kia’s Southern California styling center, which has done a first-rate job on the overall re-design.   Anyone who hasn’t check out the new look of the brand, in recent years, will be in for a shock at what has been accomplished by Kia’s design chief Peter Schreyer – who was responsible, in a past life, for Audi’s bold look.


Kick-Starting Start-Stop

Feds the obstacle with mileage boosting technology.

by on Oct.07, 2011

Porsche was one of the first to offer American motorists Start-Stop technology in a non-hybrid vehicle with the launch of the Panamera.

Are federal regulators inadvertently blocking widespread adoption of new technology that could significantly improve the fuel economy of most new vehicles at a relatively modest cost?

Auto industry officials complain that the Environmental Protection Agency is discouraging the industry from using Start-Stop, a technology that can briefly shut down a vehicle’s engine instead of wasting gas by idling.  The feature, widely used in Europe and Japan, can boost the fuel economy of a typical passenger vehicle by as much as 5%.

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The problem is that the government’s often-criticized fuel economy test cycle does not account for the advantages of Start-Stop, making it hard to justify the added cost – about $300 to $500 a vehicle – if a maker cannot show consumers that it is boosting their mileage and saving them money in the long run.

The 2012 Kia Rio will introduce Start-Stop technology into the mainstream American market.

“Fuel economy is now the number one concern for American car buyers,” notes Derrick Kuzak, Ford Motor Co.’s global product chief.  And that is prodding the maker – and its competitors – to adopt all sorts of new technologies that can increase a vehicle’s fuel efficiency.  That includes new 7-, 8- and even 9-speed gearboxes, low rolling-resistance tires and downsized, turbocharged engines like Ford’s popular EcoBoost system.

But in a hotly competitive marketplace, warns Kuzak, a maker needs to get a return for its investment.  And that means the bragging rights of showing potential buyers an improvement in fuel economy.

Yet even though automotive experts universally agree that Start-Stop routinely yields a 3% to 5% improvement in mileage – and sometimes more – manufacturers have no way to show that on the Munroney window stickers customers routinely check when they go car shopping.

So, for the moment at least, Start-Stop systems are available only on about 2% of the cars, trucks and crossovers sold in the U.S. — primarily on gas-electric vehicles, such as the Ford Fusion or Toyota Prius, where the necessary componentry is already built into the vehicle.

Experts say that today’s engines can save fuel shutting down for as little as 15 to 30 seconds rather than idling at a light or drive-up window.  Start-Stop makes it simpler than having to switch a key on and off.

The basic operation is simple: when a vehicle comes to a stop and the driver steps on the brake the engine shuts down.  Lift off the brake and the engine automatically fires up again.

Federal regulators have promised to examine the technology and may either modify their test procedure or come up with an algorithm that would boost the numbers for a vehicle using Start-Stop.  On a typical car, the savings might add up to $100 or more annually, justifying the added expense, industry observers contend.  And this way, buyers would directly understand the benefits.

Some makers have decided not to wait for the feds to act.  Kia will become the first mass-market manufacturer to offer Start-Stop on a conventional, non-hybrid model.  It will become available on the 2012 Kia Rio as part of a $400 “Eco” option.  The base Rio will go for $14,350.

Ford, meanwhile, says it will begin offering the technology on some of its new models next year.

It’s already available on some high-line products, notably from BMW and Porsche – the latter first introducing it on the Panamera, its 4-door sports car.  The maker claims the technology has proven particularly effective on its high-performance products, bumping up the fuel efficiency of the all-new Porsche 911 by as much as 15% in the European fuel economy test process.

It can take a bit of getting used to Start-Stop, feeling the engine suddenly stop at a light and then restarting, almost like magic, when it’s time to move forward.  But on many models the technology operates so smoothly a motorist might not even know, especially if the radio is on, hiding the sudden silence from under the hood.

Some see Start-Stop as a sort of “bridge” between conventional gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles and all-electric products.  Others contend that with the use of more limited high-tech systems – such as Start-Stop – the internal combustion engine will become so much more efficient it will become hard to justify pure battery-electric powertrains.

Research by IHS Automotive suggests Start-Stop will see a tenfold increase in use in the U.S. by 2017, to around 20%.  Some experts, including Ford powertrain planners, believe the technology could actually become almost ubiquitous in another decade – especially if makers are allowed the bragging rights for the high-mileage systems.

Kia Pulls a Surprise With Rio and Rio5

Not just a Hyundai clone.

by on Apr.22, 2011

Kia sets out a more distinct visual brand identity with the NY Auto Show introduction of the 2012 Rio re-make.

When Hyundai unveiled its next Accent subcompact on the first press day of the 2011 New York International Auto Show, almost all in attendance expected that Kia would follow with the debut of the related Rio sedan and Rio5 hatchback.

After all, the two brands have historically relied stuck with a badge engineering approach that has yielded a steady stream of Hyundai and Kia clones.  But if the Rio is any indication, the Korean carmakers are making good their word to develop their own visual brand identities.

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That’s not to say they don’t have some key features in common.  Like the Accent, the two redesigned Kia subcompacts get their power from a 138-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that mates to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic. Also like the Accent, the Rio is expected to have maximum fuel economy ratings of 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.


First Look: 2012 Kia Rio

Kia Soul facelift also debuting at NY Auto Show.

by on Apr.15, 2011

A very different Kia Rio debuts in NY.

The Korean carmakers are making record inroads into the U.S. market – and are determined to keep the momentum going.  So, look for some big news from Kia when it gets its turn in the spotlight at the upcoming NY Auto Show.

The smaller sibling of Hyundai has several big announcements coming at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, including the global debuts of the 2012 Kia Rio sedan and Rio5 hatchback, as well as the unveiling of the much-anticipated update of the quirky Kia Soul.

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The maker is keeping images of the latter box-mobile close to vest but we’ve gotten our hands on several shots of the next-generation Rio, shown here.  The updated model clearly adopts the aggressive new styling language we’ve already seen on models like the ’11 Optima and the new Elantra.

Chief designer Peter Schreyer’s team has come up with a small car that manages to look a lot more sporty and up-market than the old Rio, which was a classic econobox.  Both the sedan and Rio5 hatchback get more aggressive wedge shapes with broad, sloping shoulders.  In keeping with the latest styling trends, the two body styles feature large wheel wells and deeply sculpted door panels.

Kia will offer both a 4-door sedan and the Rio5 hatchback for 2012.

Both models are wider and longer than the vehicles they replace – but still deliver better mileage, a bit more than 40 mpg on the highway.  To get that additional economy Kia adopts new Direct-Injection technology, as well as Idle Stop-Go, which instantly shuts off the engine when idling, auto-restarting when the driver’s foot lifts off the brake.

The updated Soul, meanwhile, is expected to boast about 35 mpg on the highway, even though Kia hints it will announced a “significant” increase in performance during its NY news conference.  Give credit there to a new 6-speed gearbox.

Grainy spy shots suggest the basic shape of the wildly popular Soul won’t change much, though it is always about details.  New LED projector headlamps help Kia round out the overall silhouette of the 2012 Soul update.

First Look: 2012 Kia Rio

“Korean spice and Latin flair” to debut in Geneva.

by on Feb.11, 2011

The new Kia Rio will debut in Geneva next month.

One by one, Kia is redesigning its entire line-up, putting each new model in sync with the critically well-received styling transformation underscored by the new Optima.

Next to come out of Peter Schreyer’s studio is the 2012 Kia Rio, which will make its debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, alongside another new model, the Picanto.

Selling the market on B-segment models like Rio isn’t easy.

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They’re typically been targeted to the price conscious, or those who look at fuel economy above all else.  But styling has become an increasingly critical competitive edge, as Ford has demonstrated with the latest-generation Fiesta.  And Kia is betting it can get a leg up with a look it describes as a blend of “Korean spice and Latin flair.”