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Old 03-09-2018, 04:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Evolution of the Kia Rio's upper grille: from functional, to fake, to ornamental

I happened to be in a Kia dealership recently, helping a friend shop for a new econobox.

I noticed that in 3 generations, the Rio upper grille has changed quite a bit:

2007: functional, normal grille ...

Functional, normal upper grille:



2017: "Fake grille" ...

Designed to look like a conventional grille, but it's almost 100% blocked:



2018: "Ornamental grille" ...

It's fully blocked, but aside from location, it's not really pretending to be a conventional grille -- there's no fake grillework / crosshatching pattern. It's smooth:



I've seen a similar smooth ornamental grille on the Kia Soul too. (And not just the EV version.)

Also interesting: those are actually functional air inlets (by the fog lamps) for the front wheel "air curtains". Interesting that the base Rio & Accent have such a thing.

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Old 03-09-2018, 05:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Wink

They are getting their consumer base used to a no grill look when they eventually move over to electric.
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Old 03-09-2018, 06:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Should be used to the "grille-less" look by now since Ford had it 35 years ago

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Old 03-09-2018, 11:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I have seen a similar setup in some Kia vans. No wonder whenever I see any vehicle with auxiliary lighting in the place where a grille would be supposed to be located I think "that's so Asian"...
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Old 03-10-2018, 01:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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35-years

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Should be used to the "grille-less" look by now since Ford had it 35 years ago

yep,'n Cd 0.29 to boot! Go Jack Telnack go!
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Old 03-10-2018, 04:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I always liked the look of the Mercury's "light bar" grille.

I wonder if the gap between the lights & hood is functional for cooling flow. Didn't those cars come with a V6?
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Old 03-10-2018, 04:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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gap

Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
I always liked the look of the Mercury's "light bar" grille.

I wonder if the gap between the lights & hood is functional for cooling flow. Didn't those cars come with a V6?
I suspect that it was sealed.
The upper grille opening on the Taurus actually had air 'leaving' the grille,as it was situated in a region of rapidly-accelerating,low-pressure air.
Quirky!
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Old 03-10-2018, 04:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Ahem. '63 Studebaker Avanti:

Still looks kinda modern. Not over 50 years old like.
Raymond Loewy strikes again!
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Old 03-10-2018, 06:56 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
I happened to be in a Kia dealership recently, helping a friend shop for a new econobox.

I noticed that in 3 generations, the Rio upper grille has changed quite a bit:.
Acute observation.

Thanks for posting this.
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Old 03-10-2018, 09:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BamZipPow View Post
They are getting their consumer base used to a no grill look when they eventually move over to electric.
Even Tesla started out with a shiny, smooth "ornamental grille" (same aesthetic as the 2018 Kia) on the original Model S.

Took them a couple of years to get brave enough to delete it (and on the Model 3).

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