Look-a-like: New Kia Rio and… [w/ poll]

Just yesterday Kia released pictures of the new Rio, and it looks reassuringly familiar – those solid flanks, the handsome front, the slightly aggressive lights. However, unlike with so many new cars these days, this is not because the new Kia Rio looks much like the old one (think most VAG, BMW products). In fact, the new Rio looks surprisingly unlike its dynamic and uniquely-styled predecessor. Rather, it is reminiscent of another car…

…the competing model from its sister brand: the latest Hyundai i20. In fact, the two look so much alike at first glance, that I had to do a double-take to make sure that the Rio was not just a lazy badge-engineering job. However, while most of the bodywork on the Rio is different from that on the i20 (different hood line, different cut line for the A-pillars, differently-shaped window line), the final is strikingly similar. It’s as though the Rio was an alternative design that was considered, but rejected, for the i20.

The sad thing is that the Rio’s predecessor was an altogether more attractive, dynamic proposition, one that still looks fresh today. Where the new Rio seems flat and solid like a brick, the old one was swoopy and dynamic, with a wide stance that was unique to the subcompact segment. It was the kind of car that, if released today, would have still looked great as a new model. And yet while it may make commercial sense for more and more cars to go for restrained elegance over dynamic exuberance in an effort to pry customers away from their VWs and small offerings from premium brands (think the Germanic Renaults, Citroëns, Peugeots), its sad to see designs like the previous Rio be replaced with ones that could have come from almost any brand these days…


See more pictures in the gallery below:

So, what do you think? Let us know in the survey and comments below:

Which one looks the best?

  • Old Kia Rio - that model looked great and unique, and still beats the new car (61%, 41 Votes)
  • New Kia Rio - it is a definite improvement over the previous model (24%, 16 Votes)
  • Hyundai i20 - I prefer the way the details were executed on Kia's corporate sister model (15%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 67

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About Krzysztof Wozniak

Kriss grew up in Poland reading German car magazines, before moving to England and graduating to the British magazines, which he still considers the best in the world and continues reading them after he’d moved to the US. In college he promised himself he’s buy himself a used Porsche before he turned 30 (not to be accused of having a mid-life crisis), but instead family needs dictated a Subaru Outback. Still waiting for that perfect moment to buy a used 2008-ish Cayman…
You can find all his articles Here.


  1. I like it, but I think previous Rio looks plus modern and attractive. New model seems to be desgined in 2010.

  2. I never liked the previous Rio. I dislike the shape of the frontal headlights, and the back also didn’t look great.
    This one is more aggressive and square but I think it looks good like this. However, I would’ve liked if the rear had followed the design of the new Sportage.

  3. It’s a pity that after the Sportage and Optima Sportswagon Kia introduces the boring looking new Rio. This generation even challenges the VW Polo for most boring compact car. Despite the resemblance the i20 is more dynamic, especially the 3-door hatchback.

Let me know what you think of this article. Thanks!