Kia Rio hot-hatch: 186kW go-fast model planned

A hot-hatch version of the Kia Rio could become a reality in its next generation, and it could harness more power than the established players. A lot more.
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According to Jurgen Grimm, head of powertrain development in Hyundai Motor Europe, a new turbocharged sporty version of the Rio relies heavily upon the same derivative of the new-generation i20 making it to production.

“On the other brand’s side there is an i20 there doing rally sports. There is a big logo, it’s called N. And N is the sporting brand. They are thinking to set up such a car with a 1.6-litre turbo, 250 horsepower (186kW), something like that, as a kind of replica to the WRC car,” Grimm said, before reiterating that right now the Rio's body isn't suited to be fitted with any such engine.

Hyundai i20 WRC

“From the powertrain side, we have everything available. So it’s a question of the designers, what they want to do, and who is doing which kind of combination. From our side we are developing technology that will be available for all the platforms,” Grimm said.

Given those power figures, the hot version of either the new-generation Hyundai i20 or a new Kia Rio would be one of the gruntiest cars in the class. Similarly sized vehicles like the Ford Fiesta ST, Peugeot 208 GTi and Renault Clio RS all pump out peak power of 147kW.

And it sounds as though the South Korean company has firm plans in place to implement it across both brands, provided there’s a sellable space for it under Kia’s roof.

2015 Kia Rio_5

“If you think about it, the [next-generation] Rio will be the sister model of [the all-new i20]” he said. “Everything is possible. It’s only a question regarding the branding.

“But from the platform-wise, if you had it once it would be from our side a logical consequence to increase the volume or the number of productions,” he said.

It's likely the new hot-hatch models could be offered with six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch automatics, the latter of which has been slated to be added to the Kia Pro_cee'd GT, too.

Kia showcased a new-look for the current-generation Rio at the 2014 Paris motor show (seen top and bottom), which is due to launch here in January 2015. Stay tuned for more.