This custom Kia Rio is an absolute head turner – TopAuto
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Wednesday / 10 August 2022
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This custom Kia Rio is an absolute head turner

TopAuto reader Matthew has taken his Kia Rio and turned it into a street beast.

When he was looking for his first car in 2015 he originally wanted a Ford Fiesta ST or a Focus ST.

However, the Fiesta ST was too small, as his leg would get stuck when operating the clutch, and the Focus ST was out of budget.

In October 2015, his dad sent him a message saying he found “the one” for Matthew – and within the week Matthew bought his second-hand 2012 Kia Rio 1.4 hatch with 44,000km on the clock.

He did his first mod to the Rio in 2016, installing a new sound system, and has continued to modify his car ever since.

Here are the highlights of his mods.


Matthew has increased his Rio’s power thanks to an ECU (Engine Control Unit) tune and better airflow through the engine.

Better intake airflow was achieved through the use of a custom-made cold air intake box and a high-performance cone filter.

The exhaust flow is also improved thanks to stainless steel headers and a 63mm stainless steel exhaust system made by Millennium 7 Performance.

This resulted in better responsiveness from the engine and an increase from 60kW to 70kW.


The Rio received a more aggressive look through the addition of multiple custom body panels.

In the front sits a custom splitter along with canards and tinted headlights.

The rear then features a custom diffuser and an imported spoiler that came all the way from South Korea.

Custom side skirts were also made for the Rio.

This aggressive look is amplified thanks to its 100mm ride height, which was achieved through the use of 40mm lowering springs.

To round it off, the Rio’s original rims were replaced by 17-inch Work VS XX wheels that are wrapped in Yokohama V701 215/45 R17 tyres.


As expected from taking a look at the exterior, the interior of the hatchback has seen drastic upgrades.

Sparco reclinable bucket seats have been installed along with a Sparco shift knob and custom Alcantara shift boot.

The sound system has been replaced, too, with 6-inch JBL speakers in the doors and a 12-inch JBL subwoofer which has been built into a custom box in the boot.

This system is controlled by a Sony XAV-AX Android Auto touchscreen infotainment system – which replaced the Kia Rio’s head unit, but maintained the ability to be controlled through buttons on the steering wheel.


Matthew is not stopping here, and has major plans for his Rio.

In the short term, he would like to get the power up to 100wkW and get a unique wrap.

Long term plans include rebuilding the engine to get power up to 200wkW and putting it on an airbag suspension for an adjustable ride height.

Advice from the buyer

We also asked Matthew for advice for the readers out there who want to modify their own vehicles.

He said it is important to keep in mind that there is always someone who can do a job for cheaper, but not necessarily better.

This was proven when the first exhaust he installed cracked and rusted out from underneath his car.

He ended up installing a new exhaust which cost three times the price of the previous parts, but it has not corroded or broken due to its high build quality and use of premium materials.

It also resulted in his car sounding better than ever.

Matthew’s Kia Rio



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