2012 launch for three-door Kia Rio

A five-door Kia Rio, completely revamped for 2012, has gone on sale in the UK this month but the three-door version will not arrive until next year.

Boasting the same styling features as its sibling, the three-door 2012 Kia Rio is aimed at taking sales from some of the major sellers in the UK such as the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa, two of the best-selling cars in the country.

To do this Kia has completely overhauled the once cheap-but-cheerful Rio with attractive new exterior styling and a more upmarket and well-built interior.

Perhaps more importantly, the ride is now more refined and handling has been improved. Kia has designed the Rio for Europe and tested it extensively on European roads to ensure it is a huge leap forward over the previous version.

The car signifies Kia’s transformation into an affordable but attractive proposition in the small car market following the similar success of the new 2012 Kia Picanto.

The three-door Kia Rio will boast the same selection of petrol and diesel engines as the five-door model with output ranging from 75 to 109PS.

However, it also comes with the EcoDynamics option, a frugal diesel engine capable of delivering 88.2mpg and CO2 emissions of just 85g/km.

For now, this figure is the lowest of any diesel car in the market and will comfortably allow free driving in the London congestion charge zone. Even easier on the bank balance is the fact it will qualify for Band A of Vehicle Excise Duty – meaning any owner will have to pay the grand total of nothing.

Kia expects the three-door version to account for a quarter of new Kia Rio sales next year. In total, the brand wants the two new Rio body styles to grow sales by more than 400 per cent in the coming years as it takes on its established rivals.