Kia has upgraded its Rio hatchback for 2021 to increase safety levels and deliver more features.

Now on sale in New Zealand, safety has received a boost in the 2021 Kia Rio, with Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA) that now detects cars, pedestrians and cyclists added across the range. Also fitted to every Rio model are Lane Keep Assist (LKA), Lane Follow Assist (LFA) and Driver Attention Alert (DAA), where driver steering inputs and patterns are monitored using cameras and sensors, with an audio/visual warning issued if careless driving is detected. The Rio EX, Limited and newly introduced GT Line+ gain Blind Spot Collision Avoidance (BCA), Smart Cruise Control and Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance (RCCA).

A larger 8-inch audio-visual multimedia unit is standard across the range, with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay available on LX and GT Line, eliminating the need for a cable connection. There are USB ports front and rear. Satellite navigation is fitted to the EX, Limited and GT Line+ models.

All Rio models have a new 4.2-inch colour supervision cluster displaying important driver information in one central location.

The 2021 model year upgrade also sees front parking sensors, an electrochromic rearview mirror and rain sensing wipers available from EX and above.

Kia’s iconic ‘tiger-nose’ grille has been reshaped for the new Rio, giving a more focused appearance. This is matched by a lower, wider front bumper with a distinctive new fog lamp housing. These changes give the front of the car a smoother, yet purposeful appearance, imbuing it with a more confident stance on the road.

All Rio models sport LED daytime running lights, while the Limited, GT Line and GT Line+ are fitted with LED bi-function projection headlights with cornering headlight control. The new GT Line+ receives quad LED fog lights, too. Smart key with push-button start is fitted to the EX, Limited and GT Line/+.

Mechanically, there are no changes to the 1.4-litre petrol engine and 6-speed manual and auto transmissions. Those looking for more spirited performance in the Rio GT Line and GT Line+ can still enjoy the verve provided by the a 1-litre turbocharged petrol engine and 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

“Rio continues to be one of the most popular models in the Kia line-up in New Zealand and the upgrades we have introduced for 2021 will certainly enhance that reputation,” says Todd McDonald, Managing Director of Kia Motors New Zealand.

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How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm also an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.


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