If only it was a true hot hatch.
Kia never used to be known for making performance-focused sports cars, but that all changed with the launch of the sublime Stinger which we’ve been swooning over ever since it was revealed last year. Lately, the Korean manufacturer has been spicing up some of its more sedate cars like the Sportage, Sorento, Picanto, and Cee’d with its GT Line specification. Due to be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March, the latest model to get the GT Line treatment is the 2018 Kia Rio, with a raft of new exterior touches that give the sensible supermini a sportier look.
Among the Kia Rio GT Line’s new sporty design features include a gloss-black and chrome grille, unique GT-Line 17-inch alloy wheels, and LED fog lamps echoing the cee’d GT and pro_cee’d GT. Adding to the supermini’s sportier appearance are twin exhaust tips, LED daytime running lights, chrome window trim, a gloss black roof spoiler, and sill highlights. Inside, the Rio GT features a combination of black synthetic leather and cloth upholstery with grey stitching, a flat-bottom leather steering wheel, and metallic trim on the door switches and gear lever complemented with a carbon fiber-effect finish on the dashboard.
Sadly, the lack of performance upgrades means the Kia Rio GT Line isn’t a true hot hatch. Like the standard car, the Kia Rio is offered with a 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual delivering 118 hp. Alternatively, the sporty-looking supermini will also be offered with 1.25- or 1.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Who knows, maybe one day Kia will follow the lead of Hyundai’s new N performance division and make a true hot hatch like the high-performance Hyundai Veloster N. No word on a US launch yet, but Kia says the Rio GT Line will be available in Europe this spring.