The redesigned 2016 Kia Rio quietly debuted at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show with a few interior and exterior changes and just a passing mention in Kia’s press conference. While subtle, new front and rear styling provide the subcompact Rio with a more dominant presence that’s especially so in the Rio 5-Door hatchback, though the Rio sedan also receives a similar new look.
More 2015 Chicago Auto Show News
Kia played with the design of the front and rear bodywork to give the Rio visual width through the use of a more horizontally styled front lower bumper and a new grille more in line with the rest of the Kia lineup. Sure, it sounds like a stretch that those minor changes could make any kind of an improvement, but looking at all the changes on the auto show floor the results are indeed apparent and substantial.
Kia’s top-of-the-line SX trim level adorned the mustard yellow 5-Door on the show floor. The color didn’t look especially vibrant under the auto show lights, but I’ll reserve judgment until I see the color in natural daylight. The SX hatchback features horizontal slats in the fog-light housings similar — knock-offs? — to the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI. The look works really well on the GTI and while it adds a little sporting character to the Rio 5-Door SX, it’s not quite as well executed.
What’s changed visually on the inside is a new trim bezel around the climate vents — no big whoop — but perhaps more importantly is what you can’t see that’s changed. Sound-deadening material is pumped into A- and B-pillars for improved noise, vibration and harness qualities. We’ll have to wait until the Rio goes on sale early this year to experience if it makes the Rio any quieter of a car.