New Model News

Refreshed 2021 Kia Rio gets mild-hybrid engine, high-tech upgrades

Kia has given the Rio a solid mid-cycle refresh.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Rio is the smallest car in Kia's lineup, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't pack a heck of a punch. The refreshed version of the fourth-generation Rio broke cover today delivering a host of upgrades.

The new model retains Kia's signature tiger nose grille but updates it to fall into like with the new K5 and Cadenza sedans, among others. It pairs with a wider front bumper and new fog lamp housing. Full LED headlamps are standard. Kia has added Perennial Grey and Sporty Blue paint jobs to the roster as well as new 16-inch alloy wheels.

The car is now available with a Perennial Grey paint job.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Under the hood is a new turbocharged 1.0-liter mild-hybrid engine, replacing the current 1.0-liter powers-ant. It features the same 48-volt lithium-ion battery technology that is present in many mild-hybrid vehicles from the Ram 1500 to the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The new engine produces 100 or 120 horsepower, depending on the buyer's choice, the same as the outgoing power plant.

European versions of the car will be available with additional engine options.

The car comes standard with Kia's new clutch-by-wire manual transmission. It works with other car systems to activate Kia's auto start-stop technology while maintaining traditional gearbox characteristics. The engine is automatically switched off when the brake and clutch pedals are simultaneously pressed as the car comes to a stop. When the pedals are released, the engine is turned back on.

Kia has equipped the Rio with a Drive Mode Select system, giving drivers the choice of Eco, Sport, and Normal drive modes.

At the front, the car has design cues in line with the new Cadenza and K5.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The new Rio is available with an 8.0-inch infotainment touch screen. It has Display Audio or navigation, depending on vehicle specification. The list of standard features includes Bluetooth while wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available when buyers opt for a model with the larger screen.

Buyers can also get "Phase II" of the UVO Connect telematics system, which includes live traffic information, weather forecasts, points of interest, fuel prices, and details of potential on- and off-street parking – including price, location and availability. It also features online voice recognition, supported by server technologies, which lets users give voice commands, hands-free, to search for nearby points of interest, addresses, weather updates, or send text messages.

The UVO App is compatible with Android and Apple smartphones, and allows owners to activate a range of functions and features remotely. Depending on country, users can remotely send route directions to their car before a journey, check the location of their vehicle, and access vehicle reports and diagnostic notifications.

More details about the system will be released closer to the car's on-sale date.

In front of the driver is a 4.2-inch digital display.

2021 Kia Rio The driver information screen displays information at a higher resolution than in the past.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Owners can choose from a number of interior customizations whose availability depends on the market. The color options add colored seat bolsters, dashboard, and door arm rests, as well as contrast stitching. GT-Line models are offered with a black single-tone interior with white contrast piping and stitching on the seats, and a faux carbon fiber dashboard.

Standard and GT Line Rio models are now equipped with driver and optional front passenger seat height adjustability.

The Rio is also available with a long list of safety and driver assistance features including forward collision avoidance assist with pedestrian, vehicle, and cyclist detection, intelligent speed limit warning, smart cruise control, rear cross traffic assist, rear occupant alert, lane departure alert, and lane following assist.

2021 Kia Rio New color options add contrast stitching to the Rio's seats.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Pricing and an on-sale date will be announced later this year.

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A diamond mesh grille fronts the 2022 Kia K8.

PhPhoto courtesy of Kia Motorsoto courtesy of Kia Motors

Goodbye, Cadenza. Hello, K8. The Kia Cadenza is one of those cars that is easy forgotten about (if you ever knew about it in the first place) and frequently passed over in favor of the Toyota Avalon or the like. Still, most every automotive journalist who has driven it likes it.

So, Kia's taking the lessons learned from the Cadenza and some from the K5 and Stinger, and rolling them into a new large sedan, the 2022 Kia K8. This week the company unveiled the first official images of the car ahead of its debut. This is the first vehicle named the K8 in Kia history.

2022 Kia K8 The K8's headlights have integrated turn signals.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

2022 Kia K8

"Following our recent company rebrand, we keep moving toward our new brand values with a new model – the K8. This modern sedan has been designed with innovation and elegance at its very core," said Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Kia Global Design Center. "While paying homage to the K7, the K8 looks to the future. Its progressive exterior takes on character and emotion, and combines those qualities with an expressive looking front and a dynamic swooping rear, giving the K8 a high-quality, premium presence that takes direct inspiration from some of the world's most technically advanced yachts."

As seen in the photos, the car wears Kia's new logo on its badging, and has design lines reminiscent of the vehicles it has taken lessons from. There's a frameless tire nose grille with diamond lattice, turn signals integrated into the headlights, an elongated side profile, chrome finish along the bottom of the doors, and a roofline that trails off into the trunk. It's all very much from the Kia sedan lineup.

Kia promises that the car will have a "first class" interior that establishes "new benchmarks in premium quality". The sedan will deliver a high-performance driving experience yet be comfortable to ride in, according to Kia messaging.

The rear of the Kia K8 features elongated taillights.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Kia K8 is expected to arrive in showrooms later this year but the U.S. might not get it until after it's arrived in Korea and Europe.

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The Jeep Wrangler Islander is now aviallable to order.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

Jeep is bringing back its popular Islander special edition SUV for the 2021 model year, but with a twist. This year, the Wrangler and Renegade are getting the treatment. This is the first time the Jeep Renegade has been available with this special edition treatment.

"Our Jeep enthusiasts expect legendary Jeep 4x4 capability, and they also embrace the Jeep brand's fun 'go anywhere, do anything' adventure lifestyle," said Jim Morrison, Vice President, Jeep Brand North America. "With Surf Blue accent stitching, Islander-embroidered front seats and available white three-piece hardtop on the Wrangler, you can't help but think summer and the beach life when you see these new Islander special editions."

2021 The Jeep Renegade Islander beings the spirit of coastal communities to the off-roading family hauler.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

2021

The Wrangler Islander has been gone for 11 years after being first introduced as a special edition in 1988. The new model is based on the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Sport S with either two- or four-doors. It comes standard with the following features and equipment:

  • Jeep Command-Trac 4x4 part-time, two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio
  • 17-inch Rubicon aluminum wheels in Silver Finish with all-terrain tires
  • Rubicon Rock Rails
  • Uconnect 4 with a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Dual-zone temperature control
  • Exterior details include a Tiki Bob hood decal; interior details include a Ceramic White mid-bolster and black cloth seats with an embroidered Islander logo and Surf Blue accent stitching
  • Available white three-piece hardtop
  • Optional Islander Plus Package by Mopar adds front/rear grab handles, cargo tub liner, solid sunbonnet top and Tiki Bob soft spare-tire cover

The Jeep Wrangler Islander is available in Billet Silver, Black, Chief, Granite Crystal, Bright White, Firecracker Red, Hellayella, Sarge Green, Snazzberry and Sting-Gray.

Each Islander model receives unique interior appointments.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

The Renegade Islander is based on the 2021 Jeep Renegade Latitude. Its list of standard and available features and equipment includes:

  • Available Jeep Active Drive full-time 4x4 system
  • 19-inch Silver Alloy wheels with all-season tires
  • Dual-pane panoramic sunroof for ultimate open-air freedom
  • Uconnect 4 with a 7-inch touchscreen includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Exterior details include a Tiki Bob hood decal; interior details include premium black cloth seats with an embroidered Islander logo and Surf Blue accent stitching
  • Keyless Entry with panic alarm
  • Remote start system
  • Available Alpine White painted roof

The Jeep Renegade Islander is available in Bikini, Jetset Blue, Glacier and Omaha Orange paint jobs.

The two models serve up a unique look.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

All 2021 Jeep vehicles get the Jeep Wave premium owner loyalty program with purchase. It gives access to benefits and exclusive perks like three years of worry-free maintenance at Jeep dealerships, including oil changes and tire rotations; 24/7 support via phone or chat; 24/7 roadside assistance and first-day loaner coverage; access to select Jeep events.

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Islander has a starting U.S. MSRP of $33,370 for two-door models and $36,870 for four-door models (all prices exclude $1,495 destination). The starting price for the 2021 Jeep Renegade Islander is $27,430.

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