(SEOUL) March 1, 2011 – Kia is celebrating a ‘landmark year’ in its remarkable history by holding the premieres of three new models at the81st Salon International de l’Auto in Geneva today (Tuesday). The all-new Kia Rio compact car is making its debut on the world stage in Switzerland. The all-new Kia Picanto small car is appearing outside Korea for the first time. And the new Kia Optima Hybird is being shown for the first time to a European audience.
“Kia’s uniquely powerful presence at Geneva will embody three premieres and highlight our brand’s design-led revolution, world-class engineering and advanced hybrid technologies,” commented Hyoung-Keun Lee, Vice-Chairman, Kia Motors Corporation. “In Europe and around the world, the small and compact car markets account for a huge percentage of global sales, so the introduction of new Picanto and new Rio is immensely significant for Kia in what I am sure will be a ‘landmark year’ for our brand.
During the on going global economic uncertainty, Kia products have maintained their appeal to consumers. Last year we delivered more than 2 million vehicles to customers, an increase of 27 per cent over 2009.
“This year, I am confident that the popularity our recent introductions – Venga, Sorento, Sportage, Optima and Cadenza – will be greatly boosted by the arrival of new Picanto and new Rio in Kia showrooms,” concluded Mr Lee.
Revolutionary new Kia Rio brings design flair to B-segment
Kia’s fourth-generation Rio is a revolution, not an evolution of its predecessor. It boasts a bold and distinctive personality, bringing the latest model into line with Kia’s design-led product range. New Rio combines European finesse with Korean spice to create a form language that also communicates Latin flair, for a truly global appeal.
Longer, wider and lower, new Rio is set to completely redefine its position as one of the most competitive vehicles in one of the most competitive sectors – the B-segment. New Rio will deliver low running costs and class-leading CO2 emissions – with target figures for the model range starting at just 85 g/km.
New Rio will be available with three bodystyles for the first time – four-door sedan, five-door hatchback and (from 2012) a new three-door hatchback – depending on market. The five-door (on show at Geneva) has a length of 4045 mm, the sedan will measure 4,365 mm (giving a 33% increase in trunk space to 390 litres) and all models feature a wheelbase extended by 70 mm (to 2570 mm) – greatly enhancing passenger space and cargo capacity.
The Kia Rio will offer an extensive line-up of six fuel-efficient, low CO2 engines, with the local powertrain selection tailored to best suit individual markets and consumer preferences. Power outputs will range from 51kW (1.1-litre three-cylinder diesel in Europe), up to 103kW (1.6-litre GDI gasoline four-cylinder engine for North America).
To complement the striking exterior, Rio’s interior design has also been transformed to give the car a genuine premium feel. Customers can select from a choice of two-tone interiors and numerous trim packs to create their own bespoke interior – underlining the fresh focus for new Rio as a mature, refined compact car.
A small car, grown up – the all-new Kia Picanto
The all-new Kia Picanto is now a small car, grown up. It has been redesigned and re-engineered with stand-out styling that conveys a sense of solidity and maturity. Longer than the previous model, and with an extended wheelbase, new Picanto will be offered for the first time with a choice of 5-door and 3-door body styles, it is set to become one of the most competitive vehicles in the global ‘city car’ A-segment.
The character of 3.6-metre long new Picanto has been transformed from ‘cute’ and ‘friendly’ into mature and handsome, designed to turn heads on the street, thanks to its good looking, sexy proportions and dynamic design language. Picanto in its newest form exudes a bold self confidence which is unique in its segment.
Picanto’s new cabin will offer buyers numerous ‘big car’ comfort and convenience features – many of them fitted for the first time on a car in this segment – plus material quality and the range of trim choices that introduce a ‘premium’ level of individualisation to this segment. The interior can be chic, sporty or premium, depending on the customer’s preference.
Every new Picanto will come with a highly efficient engine from Kia’s ‘Kappa’ family of power units. Globally, four versions of the Kappa will be offered with power outputs ranging from 51-to-63kW. The Picanto’s base-line CO2 figure has been lowered to just 90 g/km, with fuel consumption as low as 4.1 litres/100 km.
European premiere of Kia Optima Hybrid sedan
Following its world premiere in the USA, Kia is exhibiting its all-new Optima Hybrid sedan in front of a European audience for the first time, raising Kia’s environmental credentials to a new level. Taking Kia forward into its ‘EcoDynamics’ era, the 4.85-metre long Optima Hybrid pioneers new technologies which are destined to appear in future Kia production models.
Scheduled to begin mass production in the first half of 2011, the Optima Hybrid employs a truly innovative Kia-developed hybrid powertrain with a combined (electric motor plus gasoline engine) output of 154kW and 265 Nm of torque. Consequently, Kia’s latest sedan delivers a unique blend of performance – acceleration to 100 kph in 9.2 seconds and a top speed of 195 kph – plus class-leading fuel economy, achieving a 40.7 per cent fuel consumption improvement compared with a regular 2.4-litre Optima.
Kia’s ingenious, simple and cost-effective ‘parallel hybrid system’ features a special clutch fitted between the 2.4-litre gasoline engine and the small 30kW electric motor, enabling the gasoline engine to be de-coupled from the powertrain so the sleek sedan can be operated in zero-emissions, full-electric drive mode from standstill up to 100 kph. Throughout the entire driving experience the hybrid operation is automatic and seamless.
Kia’s Optima Hybrid employs a new lithium polymer battery pack developed with LG Chem. Battery reliability is so good that the Optima’s pack will not need replacing in the vehicle’s lifespan – at least 10 years and 150,000 miles.