Hyundai/Kia Developing Small Rear-Drive Platform, Kia Roadster Coming First

With VW wading into the budget roadster segment with its forthcoming BlueSport mid-engine roadster, it seems that Kia wants in on the action as well. Reports are surfacing in Europe and the US that the Korean automaker is making good on Peter Schreyer’s threats, and is developing its first roadster since it bought up the tooling and IP for Lotus’s front-drive Elan, which it sold in Korea between 1996 and 1999.

According to AutoBild, the new Kia roadster will be even shorter than the old Elan at around 144 inches, and should weigh about the same as the Miata at “just over 1000 kg” (2,204 lbs, or). With rear-drive, a 200 HP turbo engine, dual-clutch as an option and a mandatory cloth soft top, the new roadster is already being referred to as a “halo” by Kia’s US staff, so there’s no reason to suspect that this will be Euro-only forbidden fruit, although it will likely debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2013. In the meantime, Kia will be developing this roadster’s all-new, rear-drive platform jointly with Hyundai, which should likely offer its own iteration about six months after Kia does (a Toyobaru coupe-fighter, perhaps?). With VW, Toyota, Nissan and now Hyundai-Kia getting into the lightweight rear-drive game, it seems we may just be at the dawning of a new age of unprecedented enthusiast options.

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  • Tparkit Tparkit on May 20, 2011

    The best news an auto buyer can hear these days is that Hyundai/Kia is about to enter a segment that buyer is interested in. In the end the buyer might not choose an H/K product, but H/K will put pressure on every other carmaker and drive a general increase in quality, styling, innovation, and features at a given price point.

  • Daviel Daviel on May 20, 2011

    Sign me up - if it is anything like my 2011 Sportage it'll be great!

  • Inside Looking Out Why EBFlex dominates this EV discussion? Just because he is a Ford expert?
  • Marky S. Very nice article and photos. I am a HUGE Edsel fan. I have always been fascinated with the "Charlie Brown of Cars." Allow me to make a minor correction to add here: the Pacer line was the second-from-bottom rung Edsel, not the entry-level trim. That would be the Edsel Ranger for 1958. It had the widest array of body styles. The Ranger 2-door sedan (with a "B-pillar", not a pillarless hardtop), was priced at $2,484. So, the Ranger and Pacer both used the smaller Ford body. The next two upscale Edsel's were based on the Mercury body, are were: Corsair, and, top-line Citation. Although the 1959 style is my fav. I would love a '58 Edsel Pacer 4-door hardtop sedan!
  • Lou_BC Stupid to kill the 6ft box in the crewcab. That's the most common Canyon/Colorado trim I see. That kills the utility of a small truck. The extended cab was a poor seller so that makes sense. GM should have kept the diesel. It's a decent engine that mates well with the 6 speed. Fuel economy is impressive.
  • Lou_BC High end EV's are selling well. Car companies are taking advantage of that fact. I see quite a few $100k pickups in my travels so why is that ok but $100k EV's are bad? The cynical side of me sees car companies tack on 8k premiums to EV's around the time we see governments up EV credits. Coincidence? No fooking way.
  • EBFlex "I'd add to that right now, demand is higher than supply, so basic business rules say to raise the price."Demand is very low. Supply is even lower. Saying that demand is outstripping supply without providing context is dishonest at best.