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GT render transforms 2017 Kia Rio into hot hatch
By James Wong, caradvice.com.au • 05/09/2016
A speculative rendering of a hotted-up 2017 Kia Rio GT has surfaced online, offering one vision of how a hotted-up – but still to be confirmed – version of the all-new Rio could look.
Created by independent artist X-Tomi Design, the Kia Rio GT borrows several styling cues from its larger Optima GT and Sportage GT (Platinum) siblings, giving the hatch a very athletic look.
The Rio GT in the rendering features quad-LED ‘ice cube’ foglight design, along with a larger lower intake – likely feeding cool air into a turbo intercooler – along with larger alloy wheels similar to those seen on the Pro cee'd GT that is no longer sold here.
In the image, we can also see red seats, similar to the red leather option offered in the Optima GT.
The fourth-generation Kia Rio was revealed last week ahead of its global debut at the Paris motor show in October, and according to reports out of Europe, the company is working on a hot GT version to take on the Ford Fiesta ST.
Given that the Rio GT is still to be confirmed, there are no details on what might provide power – although Kia's performance boss may have dropped a hint last month.
Albert Biermann, Kia and Hyundai's performance development chief, said in an interview with the UK’s Evo magazine last month that he would love to see the company’s 1.0-litre turbo “in a fun model”.
However, in its current form the 1.0-litre triple that does service in the Kia cee'd GT-Line overseas develops 88kW of power and 171Nm of torque, which propels the sporty-styled hatch from 0-60mph (0-96km/h) in 10.7 seconds – hardly what you would call quick.
Additionally, the 1.0-litre turbo is more likely to feature in a high-grade GT-Line variant in the standard Rio range – also seen in the overseas-market Hyundai i20 Sport.
If the Rio GT is to really compete with established light hot hatches like the Volkswagen Polo GTI (141kW) and Ford Fiesta ST (134kW), it will need quite a bit more power. That could point to a larger turbocharged four-cylinder engine – maybe the 130kW/265Nm 1.6-litre unit from the Hyundai Tucson.
A Rio GT hasn’t been confirmed, however, meaning timing is also a mystery. But, with the regular range making its public debut in Paris next month, it’s unlikely we will see the performance variant until at later least next year.