According to recent international reports, Kia is thinking of developing a sporty, hot hatch version of the new 2011 Kia Rio. The sports model would rival the likes of the Volkswagen Polo GTI, Abarth 500 and Mini Cooper S and be targeted particularly towards European markets.

Kia unveiled the all-new 2011 Kia Rio at the recent 2011 Geneva Motor Show. And from the looks of the model unveiled, it seems it already offers a great sporty platform on which to base a hot hatch. With its aggressive front-end styling, large alloy wheels and darkened headlight and taillight backgrounds, a sports Rio would go down quite well.

UK publication Autocar recently spoke with Kia marketing and product planning chief, Benny Oeyen, who said,

"The quality and design is much greater than the brand image represents. You can improve this with cars. A helpful car for us would be a hot hatch, cabrio or a coupe. I can imagine a sporty Kia in Europe; we have to develop the brand."

The normal 2011 Kia Rio will go on sale in Europe in September and will be Kia's most fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly package on offer with its 1.1-litre, turbo-diesel three cylinder. This Ecodynamics model is set to consume just 2.7L/100km and emit just 88 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

Engine power specifications for a hot hatch version haven't been confirmed but it is likely to feature a more powerful unit than the current range-topping 1.4-litre, 80kW petrol variant.

The 2011 Kia Rio will go on sale in Australia in the third quarter of this year.