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Saturday, April 13, 2024

The end is near: KIA Rio launched in Pakistan as Big Three watch in silence

News Analysis |

KIA has unveiled its Pakistani debutante, KIA Rio at its showrooms. Amidst much social media hype about the features, auto-watchers are sceptical. While the variant displayed is a 1.5L only manufactured in Korea at the moment, it is reported that Kia plans to manufacture the Pakistani version in a 1.0L capacity.

Kia unveiled the 4th Generation of Kia Rio at Paris Motor Show 2016. The 4th Generation Kia Rio is a front engine front wheel/ four wheel drive subcompact hatchback. Kia Rio 2018 featured an updated and sportier design language as well as larger exterior dimensions compared to the previous 3rd generation Kia Rios, making for a more spacious interior. Globally, the car has done wonders, with 437,000 units sold in 2015, making the Kia Rio one of the most successful models for Kia.

Now what remains to be seen is if KIA is going to launch the Rio with the same features or it is going to transcend into a Pakistani soul as it enters and fools audiences.

If, as reported, the car is priced within the Rs 1.5 million mark, then the car is bound to give some serious problems to the monopolized ‘big three’ companies operating in Pakistan: Suzuki, Toyota and Honda as only a few virtually feature-less variants are available under 1.5 million.

The car, as it is currently being assembled in other parts of the world, includes important features such as Bi-projection headlamps, which offer increased illumination, electric folding mirrors, KIA’s iconic radiator grille in which most of the airflow used for cooling enters through the lower intake, aero blade wipers, Parking Distance Warning-Reverse, Antilock Braking System, as well as 6 airbags, and a Supervision cluster with 3.5˝ LCD screen.

Read more: KIA introduces two new cars and they’re a bit too much

The car also includes certain luxury features such as Auto cruise control, auxiliary and USB connections, manual A/C, full Auto Temperature Control (FATC), full-folding 2nd row seats, sunroof, telescopic & tilt steering, ECM rear-view mirror, front & rear door bottle holders, and center console armrests, as well as rear seat USB charging ports.

While at this price the KIA Rio was already expected to give a tough time to cars such as the Suzuki Swift, the rebranded Cultus, and Suzuki’s recently launched sedan, the Ciaz, with the current set of features it could also give the Toyota and Honda flagship cars, Corolla and City, a run for their money. It is even more of a threat given that its design of the KIA Rio gives more of a Sedan like an impression than that of a compact car. Now what remains to be seen is if KIA is going to launch the Rio with the same features or it is going to transcend into a Pakistani soul as it enters and fools audiences.

Another market that this car could possibly threaten is imported Japanese cars. Already in jeopardy, the Japanese imports might further be pushed to extinction if the features are offered in a brand new, locally available car.

At present, the KIA lucky motors website claims that the car will have PDW-R, ABS and 6 air-bags, however, it has also run a fine print disclaimer saying “Actual Specifications may vary according to the region.” We know what means.