Kia's sporting ambitions for Geneva

  • AFP
  • Updated: Feb 23, 2015 10:34 IST

At the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, the Korean car company will be unveiling a new GT model line that it hopes will add a little more heat to its current Cee'd range.

Kia has taken its time in entering the hot hatchback market and its first genuine attempt, the Pro_cee'd GT wasn't a bad effort at all. It lacked some of the out-and-out performance the segment's leaders offer but what it lacked in output it made up in looks and standard specification.

The idea behind the GT Line is to bring those great styling cues and the sporty feel to the standard Cee'd model line for those consumers that crave the looks but not the lifestyle. But as well as new looks, Kia will also be coming to Geneva with new engine technology in the form of an all-new 1-liter, 3-cylinder turbocharged unit and its first dual-clutch, paddle shift seven-speed transmission.

The new, diminutive engine has been built to offer the same levels of performance and acceleration as a 1.6-liter engine but with even greater fuel economy. It produces 118bhp offering 172Nm of torque, and, although the company hasn't published its official fuel consumption figures, expect to get at least 50mpg (5.6l/100km).

The hot hatch market -- especially within Europe -- has never been in better health. Despite ever stricter legislation regarding safety, emissions and fuel consumption, companies such as Ford, VW, Renault, Peugeot, Audi and Seat have somehow found the engineering and technological wherewithal to keep producing smaller cars that are as thrilling to drive as they are practical to own yet still meet all of the legal criteria.

Therefore it should come as little surprise that new, even hotter hot hatchbacks are expected to be one of the biggest draws at this year's Geneva Motor Show. Ford will be officially unveiling a 315bhp, four-wheel-drive Focus RS, Honda will be showing off its new 167mph (269kph) Civic Type R and Audi will be wheeling out the RS3, which boasts a 0-100km/h time of just 4.3 seconds.

However, by offering the styling, plus the acceleration and performance levels needed to navigate the inner-city urban jungle, Kia could be onto something with its new GT range. Just as crossovers are popular because they look like SUVs but don't handle like them, the Cee'd GT Line could be the first of many warm rather than hot hatches to come.

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