As Kia tries to project itself further and further upmarket with premium efforts like the Cadenza and redesigned Sorento, the entry-level 2016 Kia Rio could easily have been left behind. To help keep that from happening, Kia rolled out a freshened version of its affordable subcompact at the Chicago auto show.
Same formula underneath
Powering the 2016 Kia Rio is a carryover 1.6-liter inline-four engine with direct injection. The humble little engine produces 138 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque, and can be mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. One change is that only the Rio sedan can be had with a manual gearbox now, exclusively in stripper-status LX trim, while the hatchback (and every other sedan trim level) comes standard with an automatic.
Both sedan and five-door variants of the 2016 Kia Rio have gone under the knife, arriving at the 2015 Chicago auto show with a more modern look. Kia revised the Rio’s front and rear fascias, updated the grille insert to fall in line with the rest of the sharp-looking Kia lineup, as well as adding new fog light surrounds with satin-finish bezels. Inside, greater use of NVH-reducing foam in the A- and B-pillars, upgraded tech, and a new piano black center console spice things up a bit compared to the outgoing Rio.
No, power locks and windows are still not standard
We have to admit there’s something nostalgic and endearing about cars so cheap they don’t come with power locks and windows as standard. Whether you think automakers should leave those days firmly in the rear-view or not, the 2016 Kia Rio still comes with some of these elbow-grease-powered parts in base, LX trim, although you can opt for the LX power package to upgrade. Other standard items include satellite radio and USB connectivity and 15-inch steel wheels.
Spring for the 2016 Kia Rio EX to get 15-inch aluminum wheels, standard cruise control, keyless entry, Bluetooth, and an optional backup camera as part of the Eco package. Top-shelf Rio SX models get larger 17-inch wheels, slightly larger front disc brakes, and a sportier suspension. Rios in SX trim also receive LED taillights, a power sunroof, a chrome front grille surround, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated seats, Navigation, and more.
The 2016 Kia Rio will go on sale in the first quarter of 2015. We’ll be sure to report back when we get more details on pricing.