Kia To Create Rio Hot Hatch

Kia might enter the hot hatch segment with their new Rio, which could feature the 2.0-liter turbo from the Optima.

The Kia Rio and the words hot hatch usually don’t go together, but the Korean automaker is looking to change that with their new Rio hatchback. The Rio hot hatch would obviously be aimed at the European market, but it will certainly arrived in the United States when it’s all said and done.

The hot hatchback market, which consists of vehicles like the Volkswagen Golf GTI and the Ford Focus RS, is a big deal in Europe with Kia always on the outside looking in. Yet, that might change, as the automaker is planning an attack on the hatchback establishment.

“The quality and design is much greater than the brand image represents,” Kia marketing and product planning chief Benny Oeyen told Autocar. “You can improve this with cars. A helpful car for us would be a hot hatch, cabrio or a coupe.”

He added: “I can imagine a sporty Kia in Europe; we have to develop the brand.”

Currently, the Kia Rio isn’t what one would call a hot hatchback. Under the hood, the largest engine offering is a 1.4-liter gasoline motor, but the automaker does have some performance powerplants in its closet, including a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder from the Optima sedan.

Kia’ new Rio is a massive step in the right direction in terms of styling and it currently competes on the other side of the automotive spectrum. Instead of power, the Rio is aimed at those that want incredible gas mileage. When equipped with the 1.1-liter three-cylinder diesel engine, the new Rio is able to get 88 miles per gallon, thanks to a start/stop system. These mileage numbers are by far better than the Smart Fortwo diesel and various other hatchback models.

The base Kia Rio is expected to cost around £10,000 when it goes on sale in the United Kingdom.


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