Kia has given us our first official glimpse at the next-generation Rio ahead of its confirmed reveal on August 9 at 11:00am AEST in Mexico.

    The Rio is currently not offered in Australia, and that’s not expected to change with the reveal of this car.

    UPDATE, 4:00pm 04/08/2023 – We’ve updated our story to reflect the fact the K3 teaser is more likely a Rio than a Cerato replacement. We’ve adjusted our headline, and wording throughout the story on the back of new information about the teaser.

    It’s worth noting a number of the South Korean carmaker’s recent passenger cars have received harmonised naming globally.

    For example, the current Carnival people mover is no longer called the Sedona in the US, the K5 sedan is no longer called the Optima in certain markets, and the K8 sedan replaced the K7/Cadenza.

    It’s unclear at this stage if this means the next-generation Rio will move to the K3 nameplate globally. The K3 name is currently used on the Cerato in Korea.

    In the lead-up to the reveal Kia has shown off a single teaser image of the new model’s tail light.

    It’s a lot bolder than what’s currently offered and looks similar to the Seltos SUV, as well as the EV9 electric SUV.

    Kia claims the new sedan “combines sophisticated design and a spacious interior”, while also “redefining market segments and drawing attention from upper-segment buyers”.

    The front end appeared to be more aggressive than the current car, with a fresh lighting signature.

    Around the side the window line ends abruptly, creating a sloping C-pillar effect. There are also some aggressive onion-dicer wheels in keeping with those fitted to the EV9.

    Although the South Korean carmaker has axed the Rio hatchback locally, Kia Australia has committed to sticking around in the more affordable end of the passenger car market.

    Kia Australia CEO Damien Meredith recently told CarExpert the small passenger vehicle segment has traditionally kept the company rolling.

    “I think our small passenger cars – Picanto, Rio, Cerato – formed the foundation for our growth,” said Mr Meredith.

    “[The small passenger car segment has] been really important to us, and specifically Picanto and Cerato will continue to be important to us.”

    “We are pretty confident that the Cerato and Picanto will continue to sell reasonably well over a long period of time,” added Mr Meredith.

    “They’re one of our great strengths. Where other manufacturers deserted [the small car] segment, we kept on going in those areas.”

    That won’t save the Rio, but essentially confirms a new Cerato is due Down Under.

    MORE: Everything Kia Rio

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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