Kia Motors South Africa has upgraded each of the three self-shifting derivatives in its fourth-generation Rio hatchback range from the previous four-speed to a new six-speed automatic transmission.

The local arm of the Korean automaker says this new torque-converter gearbox not only affords the hatch a “smoother driving experience”, but also results in improved performance (the sedan, meanwhile, sticks with the old four-speed item).

Mated to the brand’s naturally aspirated 1,4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine (which generates an unchanged 74 kW/135 N.m), the new transmission improves the claimed zero to 100 km/h sprint by three-tenths to 12,9 seconds. Top speed, meanwhile, increases from 166 km/h to 175 km/h.

As before, the seven-strong Rio hatch range kicks off with the 1,2 LS (which features a five-speed manual), while the remaining six variants employ the aforementioned 1,4-litre linked to either a six-speed manual or the new automatic gearbox. Three trim levels (LX, EX and Tec) are again available, with small price increases made across the range.

Standard features in the Rio 1,4 LX include air-conditioning, electric windows, electric side-mirrors, central locking (with an alarm and immobiliser), a six-speaker audio system, a rear-sited USB charging port, automatic headlamps, front foglamps, LED daytime running lights and 15-inch alloy wheels.

The Rio 1,4 EX adds projection headlamps and LED rear combination lamps, as well as a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system that incorporates a reversing camera (plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality).

The flagship Rio 1,4 Tec, meanwhile, boasts 17-inch alloys, rain-sensing wipers, cruise control, an electrochromatic rear-view mirror, alloy pedals and leather upholstery. An optional sunroof is furthermore available for Tec derivatives for an additional R8 000.

A five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty in included. The base Rio 1,2 LS comes with a two-year/30 000 km service plan as standard, while the 1,4 models offer a four-year/60 000 km arrangement.

Pricing:
Kia Rio 1,2 LS: R230 995
Kia Rio 1,4 LX: R247 995
Kia Rio 1,4 LX AT: R264 995
Kia Rio 1,4 EX: R261 995
Kia Rio 1,4 EX AT: R278 995
Kia Rio 1,4 Tec: R288 995
Kia Rio 1,4 Tec AT: R305 995