2024 Kia K3 sedan debuts in Mexico – Rio successor with 1.6L, 2.0L engines; 6MT, 6AT; available as GT-Line – paultan.org
The all-new Kia K3 has made its debut in Mexico as the successor to the Rio and not the larger Forte (also known as the Cerato), which is also sold in the country. In the past, the K3 was the alternative name for the Cerato and Forte, but it looks like the South Korean carmaker has opted to reshuffle the names of its models, at least in Mexico.
It should be noted the current, third-generation Forte/Cerato first made its debut in January 2018 and was given a facelift not too long ago in April 2021. Meanwhile, the fourth-generation Rio has been around since 2016 and got an update in 2020, making it prime for a replacement.
We should also point out that the shift to an alphanumeric designation for the Rio is reminiscent of what happened to the Optima (now simply known as the K5), and opens up questions of what the next-generation Forte/Cerato will be called.
The K3 is being presented as a four-door sedan initially, with Mexican media outlets reporting a five-door hatchback will come along later on. The previous, fourth-generation Rio was also offered in the same body styles.
In sedan form, the new K3 is a much larger car than the previous Rio, measuring in at 4,545 mm long (+160 mm), 1,765 mm wide (+40 mm), 1,475 mm tall (+15 mm) and with a wheelbase of 2,670 mm (+90 mm). Boot space has also gone up as a result, with the K3 now offering 544 litres instead of the Rio sedan’s 387 litres.
For further context of this enlargement, the Forte sedan in Mexico is 4,640 mm long, 1,800 mm tall, 1,450 mm tall, has a wheelbase of 2,700 mm and its trunk space is 502 litres.
Design-wise, the front end of the K3 appears to be inspired by the K5 with its wide ‘tiger nose’ grille that is bookended by distinctive daytime running lights that sweep back and extend along the edges. The pictured vehicle is a GT-Line grade, so the bumper has a more aggressive look with “fangs” on the lower intake.
As for the rear, the wraparound taillights have an almost J-shaped light signature and a light bar on the blocky boot that connects the two clusters. You’ll also notice a hint of SUV styling with the black body cladding over the wheel arches and along the bottom edge.
The interior also gets a thorough revamp with a simpler dashboard design that reminds us of the EV6. Compared to the previous Rio, there’s now a 4.2-inch digital instrument cluster which shares the same housing with a 10.25-inch touchscreen. The panel beneath the central air vents and air-conditioning display also appears to be reminiscent of that in the EV6, as it has controls for media playback and the dual-zone climate system (with rear vents).
Other similarities to the EV6 is the design of the steering wheel, while notable features include 64-colour ambient lighting, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, two-device Bluetooth pairing and USB-C ports.
Standard safety features for the K3 are six airbags, ABS and ESC, with a set of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) available on selected trims. Front Collision Avoidance, Lane Keeping Assist, Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, Rear Cross-traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist and Driving Attention Warning are some of the ADAS technologies offered.
In terms of engines, the K3 will be available with a 1.6 litre inline-four petrol engine with 123 PS that can be paired with either a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox. There’s also a 2.0 litre NA four-cylinder that comes with the GT-Line, which offers 152 PS and is mated to a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. An export-oriented 1.4 litre engine will also be made available.
The K3 will be produced in Nuevo Leon, Mexico and will be sold in selected markets starting from the fourth quarter of the year. Reports indicate the Rio has been discontinued in markets like Europe, North America, the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa, so the K3 will likely be aimed at developing markets such as Latin America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
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