Kia has priced up its upgraded Rio supermini, which is available to order from today and can be specified with the brand’s first mild-hybrid petrol powertrain.

The range opens at £13,995 for a Rio with entry-level ‘1’ trim, a new version of Kia’s 83bhp naturally aspirated 1.2-litre unit and a five-speed manual gearbox. Prices climb to £16,595 for the 98bhp 1.0-litre T-GDi with a six-speed manual, and £18,895 for the new 118bhp mild-hybrid option in second-from-top 3 trim. 

The mild-hybrid engine is also available in range-topping GT-Line S trim with the choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearbox, priced at £19,895 and £20,895 respectively. 

The new powertrain, which is the key upgrade alongside the design changes, pairs Kia’s ‘Smartstream’ 1.0-litre T-GDi turbocharged petrol engine with a 48V electrical system.

These enable the Rio to offer electric torque assistance and regenerative braking, maximising fuel efficiency and offering up to 52.3mpg on the WLTP cycle, depending on specification. So equipped, the Rio will accelerate from 0-60mph in 9.8 seconds with a manual gearbox, and emit between 122 and 126g/km of CO2.

Further setting the Rio apart is the introduction of Kia’s Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) technology, which enables the engine to switch between different combustion cycles depending on load to maximise efficiency, and a new clutch-by-wire intelligent manual transmission.

This latter innovation means there’s no mechanical connection between the gearstick and gearbox and clutch – believed to be a market first. It’s said to contribute to the mild-hybrid powertrain’s greater fuel efficiency while maintaining the driver engagement of a conventional manual gearbox.

These upgrades also increase performance over the Rio’s previous ‘Kappa’ 1.0-litre T-GDi engine, with a 16%-higher peak torque output.

Peak power, however, is unaltered, with the Smartstream engine producing the same 98bhp or 118bhp as the unit it replaces. 

The Rio’s upgrade continues inside, where an enlarged 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system leads the improvements.

New safety kit also features, including Lane Following Assist, which uses camera and radar sensors to maintain a safe distance from the car in front while monitoring road markings to keep the car in the centre of its lane.