Next-Gen Kia Rio Could Spawn Dedicated Performance Version

They want to use a 1.0-liter engine in it, so it probably won't really rival the Ford Fiesta ST

Kia and Hyundai are on a quest to sportify their respective ranges with hotter versions of existing models and according to a report published by AutoExpress, there is a high likelihood that the next Kia Rio subcompact will get a hot hatch version too.

The source quotes Kia’s engineering boss, Albert Biermann, who said “we have a very good base with the Rio, and it would be interesting to have a sporty small car.” He confessed about the aim to make the next Rio (the standard model) fun to drive and build on that.

Power for this unofficially planned Rio hot hatch would come from a three-cylinder turbo engine. It will most likely be a development of the already available Kappa 1.0-liter unit which is currently available with either 98 or 118 hp power outputs.

In order to challenge the established hot hatch contenders, though, Kia would have to nearly double the three-pot’s current output and try to match rivals whose engines are still currently of higher displacement (most frequently 1.6-liter units).

Even so, Biermann made it clear that he intends to use three-cylinder in the hot Rio, saying “we have a very nice three-cylinder turbo out there. I love this engine, it feels like a six-cylinder with the sound and vibration it delivers sometimes. I would love to make a crazy car with this engine.”

The use of a smaller displacement engine may mean it won’t be pegged to compete against the likes of the Fiesta ST, so it could be more of a 150-ish hp warm performance vehicle, instead, which is what all current GT-badged Kias are.

Expect to see the next-gen Rio debut next year.

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