Next-gen Rio to serve as foundation for a high-riding derivative.

Kia is currently putting the finishing touches on the fourth-generation Rio which will likely receive its world premiere in early October at the Paris Motor Show. Besides the familiar supermini body style, the B-segment model will also spawn a subcompact crossover, according to John Kim, head of Kia's Western Europe Team. The announcement doesn’t come as a big surprise taking into account almost three years ago Kia unveiled a concept for a baby crossover (pictured here.)

Besides the usual array of turbocharged three- and four-cylinder combustion engines, the Rio-based crossover could receive a plug-in hybrid setup adapted from the larger Niro. That one teams up a naturally-aspirated 1.6-liter gasoline engine with an electric motor to churn a combined output of 141 horsepower (104 kilowatts) and 195 pound-feet (264 newton-meters) of torque.

It remains to be seen whether the plug-in hybrid, city-oriented crossover will happen and if it will carry over the Niro’s hardware with the same specs, including the 1.56-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack. If it will, it means the new hybridized subcompact crossover from Kia will likely be even more frugal than the 74.3-mpg Niro given the lower weight.

As it’s the case with just about all supermini-based crossovers, the new high-riding derivative of the Rio lineup will command a premium over the standard model. The price difference between the two will be justified by the higher driving position and a larger trunk, thus making the crossover more practical than its supermini counterpart. Don’t hold your breath for an all-wheel-drive version because the crossover will stick to the same front-wheel-drive layout.

A sister model of the Hyundai i20, the all-new Rio is set to grow in size based on what the spy photos are indicating. Besides putting on stilts for a crossover, Kia’s upcoming supermini is expected to receive a hot GT version with an estimated 180 hp from the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine available in a variety of models, such as the cee’d GT and the Sportage. If the rumors pan out, the Rio GT will be introduced in about two years from now.


Kia crossover hybrid coming within two years