Kia Rio could be released as a hot hatch

A new generation Rio will go on sale in September complete with Kia’s new exterior styling, an updated interior and ultra-frugal engines delivering CO2 emissions as low as 85g/km and fuel economy as high as 88mpg.

Revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March, the new Kia Rio could lead to a hot hatch version of the model.

This is because hot hatches traditionally sell well in Europe, particularly in the UK, and would go some way to continuing the perceived improvement of the brand in recent years in the UK.

The Kia Sportage and Kia Soul crossovers have been popular models in the UK since their release last year and 2009 respectively, and the Kia Rio and forthcoming Picanto city car are the latest updates to the Korean manufacturer’s range.

The introduction of a hot hatch version makes sense for Kia. Rivals such as Citroen (DS3 Racing) and Seat (Seat Leon Cupra R) have successfully launched hot hatch versions of their family cars and the continued success of the Ford Focus RS is testament to the popularity of the cars in the UK.

Kia has not revealed engine details or confirmed production of a hot hatch so far however, instead focusing on the launch of the standard Rio range later in the year.

When it arrives, the Ecodynamics model will be the most frugal diesel car on the market, with fuel consumption less than that of the Smart Fortwo.

It will also offer the lowest CO2 emissions and the best-performing models will be road tax and congestion charge free.

Prices for the new Kia Rio will be announced closer to the launch date in 2011.