Kia preparing to build Rio hot hatch

Who doesn’t like hot hatches? Not many people, especially not in Europe where cars like the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST/RS are hot property and the hot hatch segment is still growing.

Not surprisingly, Kia, who has recently shaken things up in many other areas of the car market, is now reportedly considering launching its own hot hatch. Kia’s entry into this performance arena will be based on the recently revealed 2012 Kia Rio.

According to recent reports, Kia’s marketing and product planning chief, Benny Oeyen, said a sportier version of the new Rio could help boost Kia’s image, especially in the UK where hot hatches are most popular. Other variants Oeyen hinted at during the interview included a convertible and coupe.

It’s no secret that Kia plans to launch a sporty three-door version of its new Rio, as well as the already revealed five-door hatch and a sedan. The car Kia took to the 2011 Geneva Motor Show was also fitted with large alloy wheels, hinting at some performance potential and hot hatch styling.

The first examples of this latest Rio are expected to be powered by a 1.6-litre direct injection gasoline engine producing 102 kW, but it’s likely a more powerful version with a 1.8 or even a 2.0-litre unit could prepare the Rio to take on more established hot hatch competitors.

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