- The 2021 Kia Rio is likely to benefit from a few styling updates and new features.
- Kia already released an updated Rio for Europe, although we don't expect we will get that market's 48-volt hybrid system.
- The U.S.-spec 2021 model will start production later this year.
Kia's entry-level sedan and hatchback, the Rio, will continue on for 2021 and is likely to receive the same styling and technology updates as the Europe-spec model. Kia told C/D that the 2021 model will begin production at the end of this year. The 2021 Rio will continue to compete in the shrinking subcompact market amidst many recent model cancellations including the Chevy Sonic, Honda Fit, and Toyota Yaris.
Although U.S.-spec details aren't available yet, we assume that the 2021 Rio headed to our shores will look similar to the recently facelifted European model pictured here. It has tweaked front- and rear-end styling and a more modern interior with upgraded infotainment compared to the current Rio that arrived in the U.S. for 2018. What we probably won't get, however, is the newly available 48-volt hybrid powertrain offered in Europe.
Currently, the American version of the Rio offers a 1.6-liter inline-four paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission. This powertrain is likely to continue unchanged for 2021, as will the sedan and hatchback body styles. We can expect prices to rise slightly compared with the 2020 model, which starts at $16,815 for the sedan and $17,455 for the hatchback.
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