Confirming that the visual punch promised in earlier sketches is indeed production ready, the first photos of the all-new 2012 Kia Rio have been released ahead of its formal debut next month in Geneva. Slightly longer, lower and wider than the car it will replace, Kia's entry-level compact boasts a far more dynamic appearance. It starts up front with a Rio-specfic take on the Peter Schreyer-penned Kia grille form flows into larger and more dramatically shaped headlamps that complement the prominent intake openings in its equally edgy lower fascia design. Striking body side sculpting reinforces a more pronounced wedge profile and resolve smartly into a cleaner and classier rear quarter treatment highlights by new LED taillamps.
While the preliminary press info provided no specific details about the new Rio's passenger compartment, it did note that build quality, fit and finish will be on par with larger and more expensive Kia models and that a wider selection of trim and features also will be available. Given its 2.8-inch stretch in wheelbase, expect a good deal more people space, as well, particularly in the rear seat area. No word yet on U.S. powertrains for the 2012 Kia Rio, although the automaker did note that it plans to introduce an all-new, high-performance 1.2-liter Turbo Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) four in some markets starting sometime 2012.