Kia will bring its first 'green' car to the UK in early 2009, with the arrival of a 1.6-litre Cee'd hatchback using Stop/Start technology.
The car will use a similar system to BMW's acclaimed Stop/Start technology, which kills the engine when you pull to a halt and select neutral, then restart as you dip the clutch and engage first gear.
First to get Stop/Start will be a 1.6-litre Ceed, with cars arriving in the UK early 2009. However, it could be worth waiting until later in the year when Michelins Energy low rolling resistance tyres are added to the package.
Kia insiders say the combination makes a big enough difference to get CO2 down to around 113g/km from the standard 1.6's 152g/km. At that sort of level, you can expect average fuel economy to rocket from 44.1 to more than 60mpg.
Theres no word on prices yet, but with Kias emphasis on value, we wouldnt expect prices to be much higher than that of a mid-range Ceed hatchback at around 13,000.
Kia could also use the arrival of the Stop/Start system to launch its own green brand, similar to Fords Econetic or VWs Bluemotion.
We also expect to see a mild hybrid from Kia within the next three years.
It will use technology similar to Hondas Civic IMA, which uses battery power to support rather than replace petrol power, and, again, will probably surface in a Ceed first. A plug-in hybrid is also expected in the longer-term.
Meanwhile, Kias first hybrid, combining battery power with propane, rather than petrol power, will go on sale in the companys home market in South Korea by 2010, to be followed soon after by a US launch.