Stylish Subcompact Carries Flag for Kia’s Design-led Transformation
Kia puts much emphasis on design as a key reason for the brand’s impressive sales growth—after breaking another mark in June, Kia has now recorded 22 record-setting sales months in a row—and those efforts extend to even the smallest member of the family: In fact, the Kia Rio recently garnered two more prestigious style honors for its maker, winning both an IDEA Design Award from the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA) and a Red Dot Design Award from Germany’s Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen.
"Since its introduction, the Rio's striking looks inside-and-out has attracted new customers to the Kia brand with a standout combination of style, performance and modern amenities that consumers are looking for," said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of Marketing & Communications for Kia Motor America. "The new Rio is the latest vehicle to emerge from Kia's design-led transformation and represents the collaborative work of our global network of design centers in Seoul, Frankfurt and Irvine, California under the direction of chief designer Peter Schreyer."
(Note: Technically, it was the 2012 Kia Rio that was awarded these design prizes, but the relatively unchanged 2013 models are on sale now.)
The IDEA Design Awards program was founded in 1980 and is an international competition celebrating “design excellence in products, sustainability, interaction design, packaging, strategy, research and concepts.” For this year, a jury of 19 experts from across the globe evaluated some 660 finalists in a wide range of industries, saying of the Rio that: “Within this new incarnation of the KIA RIO is a car that is extremely attractive with a fresh feeling of sportiness—a car that people will want to buy for its looks as well as its environmental credentials. In the 2012 model, Kia created a car that answers consumer demand for more quality, more choice and a more attractive, exciting design.”
The Red Dot honors were first given in 1955 and have grown to become one of the world’s premier recognitions for achievement in design, drawing more than 4,500 submissions from 58 countries for 2012. The lowdown on Kia’s award winner: “The Kia Rio has design features that give it a confident and powerful personality. From a side perspective, the distinct wedge shape and sporty window graphics contribute to the dynamic appearance of the car. Its profile, with a special ratio of metal and glass, along with its low roofline result in a sporting silhouette. The commensurate balance of window graphics, wheelbase and overall proportions creates a premium presence surpassing other vehicles in the B segment.”
2013 Kia Rio: A Rio Recap
Since its introduction, the all-new Kia Rio has provided a huge shot in the arm to the automaker’s sales and has racked up 22,396 deliveries during the first half of this year alone—an increase of 87.7 percent over the same period in 2011. True, that still leaves the Rio trailing all of its mainstream rivals save the old-school Toyota Yaris, but it was within 1,000 units of the Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta in June; for a brand that’s still as small as Kia, that’s a strong performance. Kia holds about a 2.7 percent share of the overall U.S. car market, while the Rio captured roughly 10 percent of the mainstream subcompact segment.
The car’s sharp styling no doubt helps, but so does its powertrain, which offers some technologies not often seen in cars this size. Take its peppy 1.6-liter engine: It features gasoline direct injection for a particularly strong combination of power and efficiency, and delivers a best-in-class 138 hp to go with segment-leading EPA marks of up to 31 mpg city/40 mpg highway/34 mpg combined. The Rio also was the first non-hybrid mass-market vehicle in America to offer an automatic stop-start system that helps save fuel by shutting off the engine when the car isn’t moving.
The 2013 Kia Rio comes fairly well-equipped right out of the box, too, with even the base model offering standard equipment like air conditioning, steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, a USB port, body-color outside mirrors and door handles, and safety measures such as a vehicle stability management system. Moving up to the Rio SX—due this fall—owners can get standard premium amenities including 17-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, exterior LED accent lighting, a soft-touch interior and even Kia’s UVO connectivity and infotainment system.
Available in both sedan and five-door hatchback configurations, with an MSRP that starts at $13,600 for the former and $13,800 for the latter, the award-winning 2013 Kia Rio is on sale now.