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Kia thinks small for fun

Small is big: Kia says technology such a fuel injection and forced induction means sports models don’t need a big-displacement engine.

A 1.6-litre engine for a sports car is fine, Kia says.

Kia logo8 Mar 2013

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in GENEVA

KIA has flagged that it will need to be careful about what engines it mates to a new generation of ‘fun-to-drive’ models.

The Korean car maker’s head of drivetrain engineering, Dr Joachim Hahn, said Kia was using a 1.6-litre engine for its Pro_cee’d GT unveiled in Geneva this week rather than the larger engine capacities of most rivals because the same or better results could be achieved with smarter and more efficient use of various technologies.

“We are known for very affordable cars with excellent warranty offers, and we do not want to stop that,” he said.

“But now we want to step in the direction of ‘fun to drive’, and the (right) engine for that is very important, and we are convinced that it is good for the brand image.

“So the reason we decided to use a 1.6-litre engine is because our target and idea was to build a 200 horsepower car – and in fact we have 204hp so we have exceeded that target – and we are convinced we do not need more displacement to do so.

He said this was because Kia was able to combine technology such as turbochargers and direct injection, which was a big help in achieving the needs of an engine.

Dr Hahn said the GT would need to serve more roles than just being a pure sports model.

“Although it is a GT concept, our intention was not to do a hard sports car but a fun-to-drive car that can also deliver kids to the kindergarten.

“We already have a 2.0-litre GDI Theta engine that can deliver performance in the same area as (other competitors) so technically it is possible (to increase the GT’s capacity).

“But if you see the current powertrain line-up of the Cee’d which ends at 135hp (100kW), then over 200hp (150kW) is a good step (forward).

“(Right now) if we offer a vehicle with over 250hp (185kW) customers might be confused.”

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