Kia Rio gets a refresh and range expansion: SA pricing and specs

By Jason Woosey Time of article published Dec 1, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - Kia South Africa has announced a raft of improvements to its Rio, with the compact hatch getting a subtle facelift as well as an expanded range with additional standard features.

The new line-up starts at R280 995 for the 1.2 LS, which is a R5000 increase over the previous base price, but Kia has beefed up the standard spec sheet, while also adding a 1.4-litre version of the LS at a small premium over the 1.2. The new 1.4 LS derivative costs R291 995 in manual form and R308 995 as an auto. The 1.4 LX, which was previously the cheapest 1.4, now sells for R306 995 in manual for and R323 995 in auto guise, while the 1.4 EX (R319 995 - R336 995) and 1.4 TEC models (R344 995 - R361 995) form the upper end of the range.

But it’s the LS base models that are likely to have the most widespread appeal among buyers as Kia has taken away the ‘rental spec’ vibes by adding standard features such as 15-inch alloy wheels (replacing the previous model’s hubcap-shod steelies) and a 20.3cm touchscreen infotainment system in place of the previous model’s conventional radio.

The rest of the LS spec sheet carries over, with other standard amenities including manual aircon, electric windows and mirrors, and a rake-and-reach-adjustable multi-function steering wheel.

The EX model gains a new 10.6cm LCD readout in the instrument cluster, as well as an auto folding function for the mirrors. Over and above all the LS amenities this model also packs a leather-wrapped steering wheel, centre armrest and front foglights.

Upgrade to the EX and you can look forward to rear park assist with reverse camera and projector headlights with LED daytime running lights, while the previous version’s 15” alloys make way for new 17” rims.

Furthermore, the range-topping TEC treats its customers to automatic climate control, leather seat upholstery, auto wipers, cruise control and an electro chromatic rear-view mirror.

How to tell the new Rio apart

The 2020 exterior design enhancements are subtle, but eagle-eyed Rio owners will notice the slightly narrower ‘Tiger Nose’ grille, as well as the new front bumper design and fog light housing.

Kia has also added two new exterior colours to the mix, these being Sporty Blue metallic and Perennial Grey metallic.

Apart from the larger touchscreen with CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, not much changes inside the new Rio, although there is an additional 12V power socket on board for charging devices in today’s device-obsessed world.

Two petrol engines carry over

Nothing changes beneath the bonnet - which means local buyers still can’t opt for the latest 1-litre turbopetrol engine that’s offered in some overseas markets.

However, the two trusty normally aspirated petrol units carry over as before, in the form of a 1.2-litre unit with 61kW and 120Nm and a 1.4 that produces 73kW and 135Nm. The smaller engine comes with a five-speed manual gearbox only, while all 1.4-litre derivatives present buyers with a choice between six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions.

After-sales backup comes in the form of a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty and a service plan valid for four-years or 60 000km in the case of 1.4 models, and 2-years/30 000km in the 1.2 LS.

But how does it drive?

Watch this space in the coming week for our driving impressions from the local launch, which Kia Motors SA hosted in Cape Town recently.


1.2 LS Manual - R280 995

1.4 LS Manual - R291 995

1.4 LS Auto - R308 995

1.4 LX Manual - R306 995

1.4 LX Auto - R323 995

1.4 EX Manual - R319 995

1.4 EX Auto - R336 995

1.4 TEC Manual - R344 995

1.4 TEC Auto - R361 995

IOL Motoring

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