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Trevor Collett | Jan 27, 2016

Kia’s Rio is set to get the GT treatment from the Korean carmaker before joining the hot hatch market from around 2018.

UK mag Autocar reports that the new Rio variant could have the goods to tackle the category’s established players such as Ford’s Fiesta ST, Peugeot’s 208 GTI and the Volkswagen Polo GTI.

The finer details - such as engine and transmission options - remain a mystery for now, but a 1.6 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing around 135kW has been rumoured.

However, Kia fans may only have to wait until this year’s Paris Motor Show to see the Rio GT in the metal.

Styling will reportedly draw from Kia’s Stinger and GT concepts, combining selected lines into the Rio’s hatch body. Whether this includes the three- or five-door Rio, or both, remains to be seen.

Kia GT4 Stinger
Kia GT4 Stinger

The Rio GT will sit upon the same platform that will underpin the all-new ‘regular’ Rio, which is set for a 2017 debut. The platform brings weight-saving measures and improved dynamics over the current model.

Interior features were reportedly described as “a quantum leap” by a Kia insider, with customers treated to a new standard from the in-car infotainment system.

Speaking with TMR at the Australian launch of the all-new Sportage SUV, Kia Australia COO Damien Meredith said a new Cerato GT was on the horizon to replace the now-deleted pro_cee’d GT for Australian customers.

Arriving in Australia late last year, the 2016 Kia Optima also introduced a new GT variant powered by a 180kW/350Nm 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

The new Rio GT is expected to be something of a halo model for Kia with a greater focus on performance than that offered in the Cerato and Optima GTs. Stay tuned to TMR for more.

MORE: Kia Australia Pinning Green Hopes To Fuel Cell Technology
MORE News & Reviews:
Kia | Rio | Hot Hatches

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