Kia has revealed the successor to the current-generation Rio in Mexico, but don’t get your hopes up about it coming Down Under.
The new Kia K3 sedan is set to launch in “select markets” in the fourth quarter of 2023 and adopts the name that was previously reserved for the South Korean-market version of the Cerato sedan and hatch.
It’s unclear what this means for the naming convention of the next-generation Cerato, which was recently spied during testing.
The new Kia K3 will be produced exclusively in left-hand drive in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, which automatically rules it out from launching in Australia.
At launch the K3 will be available with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine producing 90kW that can be mated to a six-speed manual or automatic. Other engine options include a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine producing 112kW and a 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine producing an undisclosed amount of power.
On the outside the K3 has a fastback-like silhouette and a bold looks and LED lighting signatures that reminiscent of the EV9 and Seltos. There’s a GT-Line version that has larger air intakes, 17-inch alloy wheels and dual exhaust outlets.
The K3 measures in at 4545mm long, 1765mm wide, and 1475mm tall with a 2670mm wheelbase. This makes it slightly larger than the outgoing North American Rio sedan, and slightly smaller than the current Cerato sedan.
It also has a boot capacity of 544 litres; around 40 litres more than what’s offered in the larger Cerato sedan.
Inside the K3 has a two-spoke steering wheel similar to the unit in the EV6, digital instrument cluster, a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, USB-C ports for front and rear passengers, dual-zone climate control, 64-colour interior ambient lighting, as well as rear air vents.
The Kia K3 comes standard with the following safety equipment:
- Six airbags
- Autonomous emergency braking
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Lane-keep assist
- Driver attention warning
Although Kia 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.