Kia has confirmed that the technology used in the eco_cee'd concept car displayed at last month's Frankfurt Show will reach production early in 2009.
Kia eco_cee'd 02.
The eco_cee'd was based on a three-door Pro-cee'd hatchback fitted with a 1.6-litre CRDi turbo diesel engine, and was claimed to have a combined fuel economy figure of 72.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 104g/km.
Official figures are not available for the production car, and probably won't be for some time yet, but Kia has said that all the fuel-saving features on the concept will be carried over.
None of them will come as a surprise to anyone who has been following the new trend towards eco cars. The engine has been modified to use less fuel, the standard tyres have been replaced by low-friction rubber created by Michelin, and the car's aerodynamic efficiency have been improved by lowering the ride height, fitting smooth panels underneath the floor, fitting a low-drag front grille and modifying the wheelarches.
One feature more normally seen on upmarket eco models (for example BMWs fitted with EfficientDynamics technology) is a Stop&Go system which cuts the engine when the car is stationary, and also recharges the battery during periods of deceleration.
Higher gearing is becoming the norm in eco cars, but Kia is going a step further than most manufacturers by adding an extra gear. The standard cee'd CRDi's five-speed manual transmission is being replaced by a six-speed unit which will reduce engine speed while cruising along motorways.
The eco_cee'd (or whatever it will be called) will go into production at Kia's Zilina factory in Slovakia in December 2008, and will be available in three-door, five-door and estate body styles.