Kia electric hatchback reportedly coming soon with GT hot hatch
South Korean car giant Kia is said to be working on an electric small car for Europe in 2025 – with the option of a high-output GT performance version. Here’s what it could look like.
The Kia Cerato small hatchback could be in line for an electric alternative, according to overseas reports – and it may be available with high-performance GT power.
Kia’s rollout of electric power has so far focused on higher-riding or SUV-styled vehicles, but plans presented to investors and media show it will not depart traditional ‘passenger car’ market segments in the battery-powered era.
The South Korean car-maker confirmed three of the 15 electric vehicles due globally by the end of 2027 are intended to be passenger cars – a category which spans hatchbacks, sedans, wagons, people movers, coupes and convertibles.
A report from industry journal Automotive News Europe last year claimed one of those models would be a “Europe-assembled compact-size hatchback”, due “around 2025” pending “final approval” and “market conditions”.
The electric small car is said to be the same size as the current Kia Ceed – the European counterpart to Australia’s Kia Cerato hatch, which uses similar underpinnings and technology but has different engines and bodywork.
Few details of the new model – including price, specifications and design – are known more than two years out from showroom arrivals.
As a rival for vehicles such as the MG 4, Cupra Born and Nissan Leaf hatchbacks – which are priced from about $45,000 to $60,000 plus on-road costs – it could undercut today’s Kia Niro EV small electric SUV ($65,300 plus on-road costs).
It is unclear if it would use dedicated electric-car underpinnings – such as the E-GMP chassis beneath today’s Kia EV6, or the Hyundai group’s next-generation ‘eM’ platform – or a chassis adapted from a petrol car.
However if a dedicated platform is selected, the new electric car is set to offer the option of a high-performance GT version – and join a burgeoning range of battery-powered hot hatchbacks.
Kia has previously announced all of the company’s dedicated electric vehicles will offer GT versions, but how each GT model will be designed and tuned will vary by vehicle type.
While mid-size sedans and “crossover” SUVs such as the EV6 GT will offer “overwhelming acceleration”, the company suggests larger SUVs including the upcoming EV9 GT seven-seater will be less extreme in focus, with a power boost compared to standard models, but less extreme suspension and handling capabilities.
Meanwhile, “city cars” – likely to include the electric hot hatch – are claimed to offer “agile performance”, which suggests a focus on sharper handling and agility over straight-line speed and acceleration.
Drive has commissioned artist Theottle to illustrate what the new Kia electric small car could look like, borrowing design cues from the EV6 mid-size hatchback/SUV, and EV9 seven-seat SUV.
Differentiating the standard and GT versions in these illustrations are the same cues splitting today’s EV6 and EV6 GT: body-coloured wheel arches and side skirts, larger wheels, green brake calipers, different bumpers with striped highlights, and new front grille patterns.
The GT sits closer to the road than the standard version, and wears a larger rear spoiler.
Kia EV6 GT electric performance car.
It’s unclear if the Kia electric hot hatch would skew opt for performance closer to a petrol VW Golf GTI (about 180kW, front-wheel drive and 0-100km/h in six seconds), a VW Golf R (about 230kW, all-wheel drive and 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds), or the electric Kia EV6 GT, which offers 430kW, all-wheel drive, and 0-100km/h in a claimed 3.5 seconds).
Rivals for the Kia electric hot hatch could range from the Cupra Born from Spain (170kW, rear-wheel drive, 0-100km/h in 7.0 seconds) to the upcoming X-Power version of the MG 4 electric hatch from China (330kW, all-wheel drive, 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds).
It is unclear what Kia’s new electric hatchback would be called. The company has to date used the EV5, EV6 and EV9 names, but has also trademarked EV1, EV2, EV3, EV4, EV7 and EV8.
One likely option is EV3, to align with Kia’s use of the K3 badge on in many regions on today’s Cerato – and the KX3 badge on the small SUV sold in Australia as the Seltos.
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