Updated Kia Rio gains mild-hybrid tech and clutch-by-wire

Kia Motors has announced significant updates for the fourth-generation Kia Rio. The update includes a new exterior and interior safety and infotainment technologies along with the first gasoline 48V mild-hybrid system from Kia. The new Rio also includes one of the first applications of Kia’s new clutch-by-wire intelligent manual transmission.

Kia will have the new Rio on sale during Q3 of 2020 in Europe. It will sell with a seven-year 150,000 km warranty as standard. Kia will offer a version of the vehicle called EcoDynamics+ with a powertrain that uses the Smartstream 1.0L T-GDi engine combined with the 48V MHEV system to maximize fuel efficiency. The car offers electric torque assistance and regenerative braking.

The vehicle features a 48-volt lithium-ion polymer battery and can extend the engine “off-time” using a mild-hybrid starter-generator unit. That unit is connected by a belt to the engine crankshaft and was able to switch seamlessly between motor and generator modes. In motor mode, under acceleration, the starter generator produces electric power assistance to reduce engine load and emissions.

As the car decelerates, the starter generator can under certain conditions switch to generator mode to recuperate energy from the crankshaft to recharge the battery. The engine produces 100 PS or 120 PS and delivers more torque than the past 120 PS engine. The new Rio will also be offered with a new version of the naturally aspirated 1.2-liter engine making 84 PS.

Inside the car, the Rio gets a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen display that can show Display Audio or Satellite Navigation depending on the vehicle specification. The system has Bluetooth multi-connection and advanced split-screen functionality. Additional details of the new Phase 2 on-board services will be announced before the model launches in Q3. The new Rio also has an upgraded interior with new color options and new safety technologies.

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