Breaking Kia’s Design Code:The Rio Design Story

If “modern” and “youthful” were two keywords in decoding Rio’s exterior design, “firm” and “edgy” should be used to interpret its interior. Kia designers wanted to accommodate drivers’ needs to look good and feel good during weekdays when they are going out to work, as well as during sporty weekends. The result is a driver-centered spacious interior that is strong, sporty and comfortable – all in one. The center air vent layout is simple and horizontal, which was inspired by classical looking cars, but the center fascia is solid-looking with three accentuated cylinders emphasizing state-of-the-art technology. Even the arrow inside the speedometer was refined to be more forward-looking. A huge door pocket and a bottle holder are in place to increase storage space and a multi-tray is adopted to the cup holder for maximum storage capability. Designed to handle your desires and needs any day of the week, Rio is a beauty inside and out.

What’s the Meaning of Color? EVERYTHING
It is said that 60 to 80% of our perception relies solely on eyesight while the other 20% is made up of other senses. Kia designers wanted undivided attention from drivers. How? They created new colors from scratch, mixing and matching the colors with countless textile, fabric and materials to capture drivers’ tactile satisfaction as well as giving pleasure to the eyes. The search for the right colors was not an easy fit. Not only did Kia designers consider the environmental factors and surroundings of the would-be drivers of Rio, but they also considered cultural color codes. They wanted the color to scream out luxury, but at the same time give a feather-soft sensation.

The final three exterior colors for Rio, Wendy Brown, Signal Red and Electronic Blue, were Kia’s answers to their quest. Brown was targeted toward fashion-forward drivers who were stylish and chic. Other colors accentuated Rio’s individualism and dynamic sportiness.

Interior colors were also a result of a very long search for the ‘it’ colors. A black that has a hint of deep blue that glistens in a soft light dubbed “Armani Black,” and a grayish beige that conveys urban luxury were developed for Rio’s interior design.

The parts in the Rio where drivers would rest their hands were carefully thought out. The upper part of the crush pad was placed using IMG or In-mold Graining to give a more luxurious feel to the touch and NPC or Nano PU Cell was used to prevent damages from daily wear.
As I mentioned, design should reflect a company’s passion. The passion of the company should not be lost in translation in the final product. So it shouldn’t be a surprise for readers to understand that Kia’s passion is innovation. A continuous innovation to make a car that wows drivers. The Rio is a fine example of exactly that.

How do you define a design? Is it a shape? A color? Or a form? Team Kia believes design is more than just visible elements. It is a subtle language which is spoken through a car, which you perceive not only with your eyes, but also with your other senses. It is a combination of everything you feel, touch, see and hear. The language of design should also contain a hint of the company’s philosophy and beliefs, but more importantly, it’s the passion that stands out from competitors. All of this was required when numerous engineers, project managers and designers from centers in Europe, North America and Korea put their heads together to create the all-new Kia Rio, a car that continues to fascinate its producers as it makes bold ventures into the automobile world.
Defining New Luxury
Can compact cars be luxurious? It was a simple question, but a daunting task for Kia designers who wanted to change the perception that compact cars meant only “small” and “practical.” New challenges required a new way of thinking. The developers involved with Rio were members who participated in the development of medium to large sized sedans or luxury models to ensure that they wouldn’t be entrapped by their concept of what a ‘compact car’ should be like.
The result was a new way of looking at what compact cars should offer, such as wide space to provide comfort to drivers and passengers. There are now features and functions that were unavailable to drivers before in sub-compact car segment, such as LED headlight lamps, a cooling internal compartment box, a seven-inch navigation system, a rear-view camera and much more. All of these aspects make the Rio a new luxurious, affordable vehicle that transcends its deceptively small size.
Simply a Beauty, Inside and Out
Before setting out to design the Rio, designers did their research. Months of market research and passenger preference tests were done in Europe and North America, targeted toward young drivers in their 20s and 30s. The results showed that this segment of drivers is attracted to economy, fuel efficiency, dynamic style and sporty design.
So it is no surprise that designers came up with two important words that were essential in attaining their goals: “modern” and “youthful.” Basic straight lines were used to emphasize a clean and modern look. Curves and volumes were used to give a youthful and dynamic look to the car. At the front, the intake grille and fog lamp graphics were expanded to establish a more confident and sporty image of the car while maintaining the design identity of Kia’s tiger nose grille. The eyes of the car, or the head lamps, are literally eye-catching. Both projection low beam and LED daytime running lamps are incorporated into the head lamps, capturing high-tech images and a forward-looking stance.
The Rio’s side profile is also the result of considerable deliberation among designers. Designers really wanted Rio to exude sportiness, so they added a dynamic window graphic with a cab-forward style and a black glass slant that continues from the front hood of the car.
We will come back next week with the All-new Rio design story-Interior. Stay tuned!

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