Here's your first look at the upcoming Kia Rio facelift.
The current generation Kia Rio debuted back in 2016 at the Paris Auto Show, so the time seems right for a mid-cycle refresh for the popular Korean family car. After updating the Rio with a new powertrain, transmission, and new standard interior tech for the 2020 model year, Kia has been caught testing the new 2021 facelift model.
The heavy camouflage suggests the Rio will be getting some significant styling changes, but this could be deceiving since it's only expected to be a facelift. Even the doors are covered up, but it seems unlikely that Kia would change them for a routine mid-cycle update.
Our spies caught the updated hatchback version of the Kia Rio sold in Europe, but the changes will also apply to the sedan version sold in the US.
Compared to the current model, the lower grille appears to be smaller and the main front grille could also be slightly larger, but it's difficult to tell when so much of the car is covered in camouflage. Elsewhere, the headlights and fog lights appear to have been slightly redesigned and the front and rear bumpers will also probably be updated to help make the Kia Rio look more stylish. The taillights appear to be unchanged, however.
Our spies didn't manage to get a look inside the Kia Rio facelift, but the cabin could also get some upgrades such as an updated infotainment system. We aren't expecting any changes under the hood, however, since the 2020 model has already been updated with a new 1.6-liter naturally aspirated inline-four engine mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission that produces 120 horsepower and 112 lb-ft of torque.
While it has less power than before, the fuel economy has improved significantly for the 2020 model, which delivers 33/41/36 mpg city/highway/combined compared to 28/37/32 mpg in the old model. Pricing for the 2020 Kia Rio starts at $15,850, but the 2021 version could get a slight price increase depending on the upgrades.