11.28.16 - Kia Rio

When you take away the supercars of the world, dial back the luxury performance models and even reduce the number of mainstream sports cars we see there is only one other performance category that garners a great deal of attention; the hot hatch. For some reason we love the idea of creating a small car with a hatchback body into a high performance machine that’s meant for the track. These cars are fun and fast giving us something that feels like it’s out of our imagination or just a few add-ons away from starring in a Mad Max movie.

Currently we have a variety of hot hatches on the market. The Ford Fiesta ST, the Ford Focus RS, the Honda Civic Type R and Si and the Volkswagen Golf R are just a few of them. These cars are built with the performance parts and dynamics to make them great for turning laps nearly everywhere in the world. Most notably the hot hatch category spends a lot of time competing at Nurburgring to see which one is the fastest cars on the track at one of the most lauded race tracks in the world.

Apparently Kia is tired of being left out of the conversation when it comes to the hot hatch and has begun work on a Kia Rio GT which will be meant to go up against the Ford Fiesta ST. This care shows up using a new platform which is meant to save weight and filled with the driving dynamics that will make it fun and active on the road and track. While every hot hatch has used a variety of weight saving elements, the Rio GT will be the first from Kia, which is a step in the right direction if this is where you want to compete.

So far all we’ve seen are some spy shots that give us a look at a new and more aggressive front end. This front end shows off by featuring LED daytime driving lights and a sportier style than before. This gives us the notion that this particular model will be an upscale version of the Rio, which would be expected if it’s going to be categorized alongside some of the other hot hatches on the road today. While the new standard Rio will be shown for the 2017 model year soon, this new Rio GT may not make it to market until 2018.

To start off the Kia brand in the hot hatch conversation, Albert Biermann, who used to head up the M Division of BMW, is the creator of the Kia Rio GT. Currently the expectation for power output is 180 horsepower coming out of the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but this is just the beginning. With the Rio GT being added to the market in 2018 Kia will have a bit more for us to be excited about from this brand that’s been making a huge name for itself.

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