The increased size of the all-new Rio has been put to good use when it comes to passenger accommodation. Practicality was a key focus in the design, and there is now more front and rear head, leg and shoulder room, which are all among the best in class – despite the 10mm reduction in overall height.
Similarly, the boot is among the biggest in the B-segment at 325 litres (37 litres more than in the previous model), despite the shorter rear overhang, and expands to 980 litres with the 60:40 split rear seats folded. The tailgate opening is lower (by 26mm) and wider (by 71mm). A tyre repair kit is provided in place of a spare wheel to maximise luggage capacity and make space for a larger fuel tank – 45 litres instead of 43.
The improved interior space of the all-new Rio comes about through some ingenious packaging solutions. Legroom benefits from the 10mm longer wheelbase, but reprofiled door trims, a reshaped dashboard and new headlining materials are responsible for the unusually generous head and shoulder room.The thinner C-pillars – reduced in width by 87mm compared with the previous model – and relocated door mirrors, which are now at the base of the A-pillars, minimise blind spots, while all-round visibility is further improved by a lower window line and new quarter lights at the tail end of the rear doors.
There has also been an increase in storage space along with the larger boot. There is an open double tray for mobile devices and other small items at the base of the centre console, sunglasses storage in the overhead console, a single-box glove compartment, bottle holders in every door (1.5 litres at the front and 0.5 litres in the rear) and closed-bottom storage areas in the door handles.
The cabin has been designed around the touchscreen for the infotainment, navigation and connectivity features and is more sculpted and more ergonomic than that in the previous model. As with the outside, it is characterised by straight lines which emphasise width and space, and there are now horizontal rather than vertical air vents.
The dashboard is now angled more towards the driver, creating a sportier feel, while the centre console is dominated by a 'floating' human-machine interface with either a 3.8-inch monochrome display, a 5-inch colour display or a 7-inch touchscreen navigation system, depending on model. The driver-oriented centre console contains fewer buttons and features more ergonomic concave switches and rotary dials for the heating and ventilation system.
Rio ‘1’ has black cloth upholstery; in Rio ‘2’ there is premium black cloth while Rio ‘3’ features black faux leather. Special black and red faux leather is fitted to the ‘First Edition’ model, which also has red faux leather door inserts, red metallic paint on the fascia trim and stainless steel pedals.
Quality – perceived and actual – is evident in the fit and finish and the choice of materials. There is a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearshifter from grade ‘2’, satin chrome interior door handles on grades ‘3’ and ‘First Edition’ (with a silver paint finish on grades ‘1’ and ‘2’), black faux leather fascia trim on grade 3 and a 3.5-inch supervision cluster from grade ‘2’.