Kia may not offer performance versions of many of its models, but it’s injecting a small dose of extra attitude into some with its GT-Line. And the latest is the Rio.
Set to debut at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show in March, the new Kia Rio GT-Line follows the lead set down by similar versions of the Sportage, Sorento, Picanto, and Cee’d.
Power comes in the form of a 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual and rated at 118 horsepower – which isn’t quite as much as you’d find in, say, the similarly sized Ford Fiesta ST, Renault Clio RS, VW Polo GTI, or even the more modestly powered 595-spec Fiat 500 Abarth.
It’ll also be offered with the 1.25- or 1.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines, but those currently pack less power (at 83 and 98 hp respectively) and will come mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Engines aside, the GT-Line model comes with sportier touches like a gloss-black and chrome grille, special 17-inch alloys, LED fog and daytime running lights, dual exhaust tips, chrome window trim, and gloss-black spoiler and side-sill trim. Inside you’ll find combination synthetic leather and cloth upholstery with grey stitching, a flat-bottom leather steering wheel, and metallic and faux-carbon trim.
Whether Kia will ever offer a proper performance version of the little hatchback remains to be seen. Maybe sister-brand Hyundai’s new N division will have some wisdom to impart. But in the meantime, the new GT-Line model will go on sale across Europe in the spring – around the same time it debuts at the Swiss expo.
Update: Images from the Geneva motor show added to post