Kia Motors is working on a lot of different things as the automaker comes swinging back after pausing production during what could have been called a global lockdown during the Coronavirus pandemic. Looking to produce all sorts of new vehicles, like purpose-built vehicles, new sedans, and maybe even micro electric vehicles (EVs), the automaker is getting busy with new concepts and ideas. Nevertheless, Kia Motors still has a strong lineup, and the 2021 Kia Rio was recently revealed, showing off a new fresh style and a mild-hybrid powertrain. Could this be the diesel 48v mild-hybrid powertrain discussed back in May 2018?
It’s been some time since we heard about the diesel 48v mild-hybrid powertrain. Also known as the EcoDynamics+ powertrain, Kia Motors was supposed to put this into the Kia Sportage but it doesn’t seem like the powertrain made it into the model. We thought the idea was scrapped, but the news about the new Kia Rio coming with a mild-hybrid powertrain definitely shines some hope on more hybrid options coming to the Kia Motors lineup, as well as sedans.
It’s safe to say that the mild-hybrid setup in the new 2021 Kia Rio GT is the one and the same powertrain. According to Kia Motors, the Rio will be the mild-hybrid setup that combines the automaker’s new Smartstream 1.0-liter turbocharged gasoline direct injection engine with a 48V MHEV system. This includes some hybrid functionality, like increased fuel efficiency with electric torque assistance and regenerative braking. Another engine has been added to the powertrains alongside the new hybrid setup, a 100-hp 1.0-liter T-GDi engine and a new version of Kia’s naturally aspirated 1.2-liter engine, now able to generate 84 horsepower.
Still a prototype, the new Kia Rio has received a number of updates for the 2021 model year, still in its fourth general. The mild-hybrid powertrain comes with several upgrades for the exterior and interior to up the ante of the fresh sedan. It would seem that Kia Motors has done away with the “tiger face” idea and went back to the “tiger nose” grille for the front fascia, paired with full LED headlights with integral running lights for a sharp but clean look. On high-end models, consumers will find several new additions, including two new exterior colors (Perennial Grey and Sporty Blue) and new eight-spoke 16-inch alloy wheel design.
An interior cabin can’t be truly upgraded without also toying with the tech, and a new eight-inch widescreen for the infotainment system gives the cabin a more upscale feel. A new blue color package has been added that brings some life into the interior with colored seat bolsters, dashboard, and door armrests, matched with contrast stitching. The Kia Rio is also one of the Kia GT models to be added to the lineup, and the Kia Rio GT has its own additions to make it stand out. Available with an exclusive interior, the Rio GT comes with a black single-tone interior with white contrast piping and stitching on the seats and an eye-catching carbon fiber-effect dashboard. It also comes equipped with driver and optional front passenger seat height adjustability.
All about safety, Kia Motors made sure to equip the new 2021 Kia Rio with some of the best safety features. New additions include the latest version of Kia’s forward collision avoidance system, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, intelligent speed limit warning, smart cruise control, lane following assist, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, and rear occupant alert. Pricing has yet to be announced, but the Europe release is destined for Q3 2020, so the U.S. release will surely be close behind.
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