Based on the economically powerful eco_cee'd concept car which debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show last month, this new range will achieve better fuel consumption, with fewer emissions, while still delivering a lively, spirited driving experience.
At the heart of this ecomonical offering from Kia is a 1.6-litre CRDi diesel engine, which boats several small but significant modifications and equipment additions to the standard vehicle.
As a result, fuel consumption in the already efficient diesel has reduced by 17 percent to just 3.9 litres/100km, with CO2 emissions down to 104 g/km representing an 8.4 percent decrease.
However the engine forms only a part of the fuel-efficient enhancements. Firstly, the drag coefficient has been cut to Cd 0.29 which is a significant 11 percent improvement.
This followed extensive wind tunnel testing which involved lowering the suspension, fixing under-floor coverings to the front, middle and rear of the vehicle, adopting wheel arch linings with 'spoiler' lips to smooth airflow around the wheels, and added a low-drag front grille to improve air flow over the vehicle.
Finally, ultra-low rolling resistance Michelin tyres were mounted on special 17-inch alloy wheels that generate minimum disturbance to the airflow along the sides of the car.
To maximise the value of the changes to the drivetrain and aerodynamics, the new eco_cee'd model will be fitted with Kia's new Idle Stop&Go (ISG) system which features regenerative braking, which automatically recharges the battery during deceleration, and switches the engine off when the car is stopped and the engine is at idle.
In order to maintain lower revs, the eco_cee'd models will feature a new six-speed manual gearbox instead of the five-speed used on standard cars.
Higher ratios in fourth, fifth and sixth gears will improve fuel consumption at motorway speeds. First, second and third gears retain the standard ratios to ensure that the dynamic performance of the standard car accelerating from standstill is carried over.
Furthermore, the gearbox will feature a 'Shift Indicator' in the cluster which will instruct the driver when to change into what gear for optimum efficiency.
The all new eco_cee'd range will be available in all three standard body styles - five-door, three-door and wagon - and will retain all standard factory options such as electronic power steering and ABS.