Spy Shots

Better Than A Ford Fiesta ST? We Spotted Kia Testing The New Rio GT

Time for a new subcompact hot hatch war?

Ford absolutely nailed it with the Fiesta ST. Charing $23,000 for a subcompact hot hatch with the power, performance and handling the Fiesta ST offers is a killer deal. Yes, there’s also the VW Polo GTI but that’s forbidden fruit for Americans. And because the Fiesta ST has proven to be such a solid sales success, you’d think VW may consider bringing the Polo GTI stateside. Well, that’s not going to happen. But Kia, of all automakers, recognized the potential of this segment. What you’re looking at, thanks to our spy photographers, is the new Kia Rio GT.

The next-generation Rio will debut at Paris next month, but these photos indicate Kia is prepping a high-performance version. It's still too early to know what’s powering this little hot hatch, but the standard new Rio will have an updated version of the familiar 1.6-liter four-banger. Also, remember this: Kia’s sister company, Hyundai, poached BMW M’s now former development chief for its own upcoming N performance division. Will Kia benefit from the guy’s expertise, too? Looks that way. This Rio GT test mule also features LED daytime running lights as well as LED rear lights, indicating this is a more upmarket version. Will it come to the US? It’s entirely possible. Good thing Ford is already hard at work on the next generation Fiesta lineup.

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