Sketches of the fourth-generation Kia Rio have been released ahead of its world premiere next month at the 2016 Mondial de l'Automobile in Paris.

first-generation Kia Rio sedan

Kia Rio

The subcompact Kia Rio has been hanging around new car dealer showrooms since 2000, when it was sold as a 2001 model. At the time, it was the least-expensive passenger car sold in the U.S.

That first-gen model, packing all of 96 horsepower from a 1.5-liter four, was also poorly built and offered drivers very little in terms of ride quality or onboard amenities. Despite its inoffensive styling, for the most part it was considered a throwaway car.

2010 Kia Rio 4-door sedan

The second generation wasn't much of an improvement in the styling department, but by this time quality had improved and a new 1.6-liter engine, shared with Hyundai's Accent, produced 110 horsepower. In addition, both its exterior size and interior volume had grown.

2012 Kia Rio EX hatchback

The Rio's fortunes really began to improve with the introduction of the third-generation model that made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March of 2011. Lower and wider, its cab-forward styling, penned by former Audi designer Peter Schreyer, could hang with the best in the subcompact segment.

But it's been five years since the Rio's last major update, so it's time for a change.

2018 Kia Rio rendering front 3/4 view

Fourth-generation Kia Rio

Earlier this week, along with three renderings of the new model (which, we assume, will come to the U.S. as the 2018 Kia Rio), Kia Motors Corporation issued the following press release:

2018 Kia Rio interior rendering

The all-new, fourth-generation Kia Rio will make its world premiere on 29 September in Paris, at the 2016 Mondial de l'Automobile.

The Rio's progressive new exterior and interior design was led by Kia's design centers in Germany and California, in close collaboration with the company's main design center in Namyang, Korea. Straight lines and smooth surfacing give the car a distinctive new character, while a longer front overhang and bonnet, longer wheelbase, and upright C-pillar give the car an even more confident and balanced appearance than its predecessor.

The all-new Rio will offer buyers class-leading practicality and safety technology, the latest connectivity features, and more assured and engaging ride and handling characteristics.

2018 Kia Rio rear 3/4 view