Kia Rio updated for 2020 with new engines and tech

  • New mild-hybrid powertrains for Rio
  • Upgraded infotainment and connectivity
  • On sale later in 2020

Things move fast in the supermini world, so Kia has given its Rio a mid-life update in a bid to keep it up-to-date with the front of the pack. The latest model features new mild-hybrid engines as well as upgraded safety and entertainment tech.

Slight facelift

The Rio didn’t look particularly dated in the first place so it’s not a huge shame that Kia hasn’t done much to its styling. They’re limited to the lower part of the front end, with a slightly sharper lower grille and foglight surrounds. All models now get LED headlights as standard, too.

> Best small cars 2020

2020 Kia Rio - rear three quarter

Kia’s also added a new design of 16-inch alloy wheel and two new paint colours, named Perennial Grey and Sporty Blue.

New 1.0-litre mild-hybrid engine

There are more changes under the skin, thankfully, with Kia fitting its first petrol mild-hybrid engine to the Rio. This isn’t a full hybrid to rival the Toyota Yaris – rather, a small electric motor provides assistance and boosts efficiency.

> What is a hybrid car? Different kinds explained

It’s paired to a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, and can be specified in either 100hp or 120hp variants. A 1.2-litre model with 84hp remains the entry-level option.

2020 Kia Rio - front dynamic

There’s also a new gearbox, which debuts some rather clever tech. It’s called an Intelligent Manual Transmission (or iMT) and replaces a mechanical clutch pedal for an electronically operated one with no physical linkage.

In practice, you’ll be able to drive this as if it were a regular six-speed manual car, but the clutch will allow for coasting at high speed and smoother operation of the engine’s stop-start system. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is also available as an option.

Kia says the new mild-hybrid engines will bring efficiency gains of between 8.1 and 10.7 per cent, but full economy and emissions figures haven’t yet been revealed.

8-inch infotainment screen with connected tech

The Rio’s interior remains somewhat of a dark and monochromatic place, but a new 8-inch infotainment screen lifts it a little and brings in a variety of new tech.

Navigation is fitted on higher trim levels, but all models will get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smartphone connectivity. Certain models will also benefit from Kia’s UVO Connect system, which brings services such as live traffic, parking information and even weather right to the car’s central screen.

2020 Kia Rio - interior

There’s also a companion app which can remind you where you’ve parked or allow you to access diagnostic and telematic data from the car’s on-board computer.

Improved safety equipment

Kia’s upped the Rio’s safety tech significantly, adding standard lane-keep assist, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist recognition, driver attention warning and blindspot monitoring.

Active safety tech is also ­­available on top of this – blind-spot collision avoidance, which will actively prevent an accident, as well as adaptive cruise control and lane-following assist that’s capable of driving the car semi-autonomously at speeds lower than 112mph.

The new Kia Rio will go on sale later this year. We’ll update this article once Kia reveals full UK specifications and pricing.

Further reading

> Best small cars 2020

> Kia Rio review

> What is a hybrid car?