Hot Kia model blitz on the horizon after 2017? | CAR Magazine

Hot Kia model blitz on the horizon after 2017?

Published: 15 February 2017 Updated: 15 February 2017

Wave of new Kia GT models mooted
Hot Rio GT could rival next-gen Fiesta ST
Even a Performance Sportage SUV a possibility

Fresh from the launch of its Stinger fastback, Kia’s product planning department has been discussing the possibility of yet more performance variants of its existing model line-up. This could include Sportage GT and Picanto GT variants, with firm plans for a Rio GT.

Sporty Sportage?

Speaking at a pre-unveil event for the new Picanto ahead of the 2017 Geneva show, Kia’s head of product planning David Labrosse suggested that a Sportage GT was certainly something the company has on its radar and would look at producing if the appetite was there.  

When asked on the possibility of such a car, Labrosse answered, ‘yes, why not? In the UK a Sportage GT would be a great idea. The market would be ready for a performance SUV but the powertrain would be a challenge.’

Kia Sportage

Whether such a powertrain could be taken from the upcoming Stinger, Labrosse would not say, adding: ‘Right now we’re in a happy situation but we need to keep our eyes open (regarding the current model range) to keep our customers interested.’

A Kia Rio to rival the Ford Fiesta ST?

Kia Rio

Plans for a Rio supermini hot-hatch are more concrete according to a senior Kia source, with the performance model set to appear at some point during the newly relaunched car’s lifecycle.

As for what could power the Rio GT, Kia has a choice of existing four-cylinder turbocharged units, or a three-cylinder turbo.

A sporty-looking (if not tangibly sportier) GT Line-spec Rio is due later in the year, meanwhile, adding to the current mix of standard and First Edition trim levels.

Picanto pocket rocket?

Kia Picanto

As for Kia Picanto GT plans, Labrosse reckons that while it’s certainly possible, Kia is keen to judge the potential market perception of such a car before green-lighting any plans.

Any Picanto GT would likely take the higher output 118bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged engine currently available in the Rio and Ceed.

Alper Celik, product marketing manager for the Picanto, added that ‘we have the technology for a Picanto GT and we can put it (the 118bhp 1.0-litre engine) on the car today, but we need to wait a bit more first.’

Don’t forget Kia’s partner company Hyundai will imminently launch a range of ‘N’ branded performance variants of its mainstream models, beginning with an i30-based hot hatch. Click here to read more

By James Dennison

Head of automotive video for CAR magazine, its sister website and Motorcyle News.