2021 Kia Rio Is Coming Loaded With Updates

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But the hybrid version is unlikely to come here

The Kia Rio is one of the few subcompact offerings competing with the likes of the Honda Fit and Hyundai Accent remaining in the US market. In Europe, cars of this size are still very popular, and the Rio was recently updated there to make it more attractive for the 2021 model year. As part of this update, Europe's Rio was gifted a new 48-volt mild-hybrid system, and while it's now time for the US model to be refreshed, it's doubtful that all of the international Rio's updates will carry over. Still, thanks to some spy shots, we can confirm that the car will be getting some styling upgrades.

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These will include the trademark tiger-nose grille, LED headlights and running lights, and newly styled 16-inch wheels. Other changes will likely include the European model's eight-inch touchscreen infotainment display and a high-definition 4.2-inch driver info display. New color options - Perennial Grey and Sporty Blue - are also likely to carry over to the body of the facelifted model. We also expect color changes inside, with new upholstery options offering a bright contrast to the interior. As with some other Kia models, a GT-Line variant is expected with sportier styling and additional standard features, which is great news for those who want one of the prettiest subcompact hatches on sale.

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That aforementioned hybrid powertrain could be a persuasive alternative to the likes of the Honda Fit EV, but with this segment shrinking domestically, we expect that the 2020 model year's 1.6-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder will continue to power the front wheels with the aid of a CVT. If that is the case, then 120 horsepower and 112 lb-ft is all you can expect, but this engine is economical enough for the 11.9-gallon gas tank to return almost 430 miles between fillups. In a small, light runabout like this, that kind of economy is perfect. Whether the Rio will survive for another year, however, is yet to be determined.

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