Kia’s presence at the auto show in Detroit was limited to the KV7 minivan concept, but they are just taking a breather after nearly their entire lineup has been redesigned in a short period of time. In close sync with platform mates at Hyundai, new models like the Soul, Forte compact, Sorento crossover and mid-size Optima sedan have been released.
Kia’s current subcompact offering is the aging Rio, which lacks the necessary style and technology to compete in the face of fresh competition. The subcompact market in the United States is set to be more diverse than ever before, with entries like the European-sourced Ford Fiesta and Fiat 500 as well as the new Sonic from Chevrolet. In fact we think it could be a good idea for Kia to start all over with a new nameplate for the Rio, much like Chevrolet did with the Aveo nameplate. It appears the brand will be sticking with it however.
To give us a taste of what to expect from the next-generation car, Kia has released some renderings that illustrate the car’s new design. The production Rio is set to make its first appearance at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
Initial impressions from these renderings look good, especially around back. We’ll have to see actual photos to know more. What is clear though is that the new cars from Kia have of a focus on sporty design compared to Hyundai, and we think that positioning serves the company well.