Kia Rio facelift unveiled: Gets Kia’s first 48V mild-hybrid engine & new version of UVO Connect

Kia Rio now has ‘big car’ safety & infotainment technologies. Also, this is the first time a Kia will come with a 48V mild-hybrid engine paired with one of the first applications of the new ‘clutch-by-wire’ manual transmission.

By:Updated: May 26, 2020 5:54 PM

Kia Motors today unveiled the fourth-generation Kia Rio with substantial upgrades to styling, powertrain and the interior as well. Kia says the hatchback now has ‘big car’ safety and infotainment technologies and this is the first time a Kia will come with a 48V mild-hybrid engine paired with one of the first applications of the company’s new ‘clutch-by-wire’ manual transmission.

The upgraded Kia Rio will begin to retail in European markets during the third quarter of 2020. It will be sold with Kia’s industry-leading 7-year/150,000 km warranty as standard.


This is the first time Kia Motors has introduced a mild-hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV) powertrain. The Rio’s new ‘EcoDynamics+’ powertrain pairs the new ‘Smartstream’ 1.0-litre T-GDi (turbocharged direct injection) engine with a 48V MHEV system, promising improved fuel efficiency thanks to electric torque assistance and regenerative braking. This engine makes the same power as the Kappa engine lineup – 99 hp or 119 hp – but has 16% higher peak torque output for 119 hp variants (200 Nm).

Upgraded UVO Connect ‘Phase II’ telematics

The Rio is one of the first Kia models in Europe to offer the brand’s ‘Phase II’ UVO Connect telematics system for enhanced vehicle connectivity and control. The highlight of the upgraded cabin is a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen display, offering Display Audio or Satellite Navigation depending on vehicle specification.

The new system also features Bluetooth multi-connection, enabling users to connect up to two mobile devices at the same time – one for hands-free phone and multimedia use; the other for media use only. Its split-screen functionality lets users control or monitor different vehicle features at the same time, customising the screen with a series of different widgets. The system offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on models equipped with the new 8.0-inch Display Audio system, negating the need for a cable.

Also read: Kia Rio name wordmark rejected for India: Why this i20 based hatch needs a new name

The Rio now boasts a range of ‘Phase II’ On-Board Services, along with live traffic information, weather forecasts, points of interest (POIs), fuel prices, and details of potential on- and off-street parking – including price, location and availability. The system also allows drivers to use Online Voice Recognition, supported by server technologies, which lets users give voice commands, hands-free, to search for nearby POIs, addresses, weather updates, or send text messages.

Compatible with Android and iOS smartphones, the UVO App offers a range of new ‘Phase II’ features, some of which can be accessed remotely. Depending on country, users can remotely send route directions to their car before a journey, check the location of their vehicle, and access vehicle reports and diagnostic notifications.

Kia Motors will let out more details about the new version of the UVO Connect technology before sales of the new model commence in Q3 2020.

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