With Suzuki adding a diesel version of its top selling Swift, Kia has also added a diesel hatchback to its lineup.
A diesel version of the Rio has now gone on sale in New Zealand and is one of the most economical new cars in the country, priced at just $24,990.
Equipped with an advanced 1.4-litre diesel engine and Kia's EcoDynamics package, which includes intelligent Idle Stop & Go technology to significantly reduce fuel consumption and lower carbon emissions, the Rio CRDi achieves an impressive 4.3L/100km and a CO2 level of 113g/km.
The new generation, four-cylinder diesel engine was developed especially for Kia in Europe and features a double overhead camshaft design with the latest common-rail high-pressure fuel injection system.
It is equipped with a wastegate turbocharger that is reduced in size to deliver a more compressed forced air charge into the engine, for greater efficiency and responsiveness.
Derived from Kia's U2 diesel family, it develops 66kW at 4,000rpm and 220Nm of torque across a broad 1750 to 2750rpm range, giving the new Rio a flexible and lively performance, combined with great fuel economy.
The EcoDynamics package also includes low rolling resistance tyres, a drag-reducing front grille, a gearshift indicator and rear spoiler.
A smooth, six-speed manual transmission is fitted as standard.
Kia NZ's general manager, Todd McDonald, says the arrival of the diesel model provides a further boost to the Rio range, which is already one of the brand's best sellers in this market.
"Rio is going remarkably well for us in New Zealand, thanks to the desirability of the sporty design, high specification level and attractive price point. And with petrol prices set to rise again shortly, the appeal of the diesel model has just got better," he says.
Like the rest of the Rio range, the CRDi benefits from a re-engineered suspension system that is based on European specifications, with the emphasis on sporty handling and an assured ride.
The diesel also features Hill Assist Control to prevent it momentarily rolling backwards when pulling away up steep gradients.
Equipment levels within the roomy cabin are high and the standard features on the Rio CRDi include high-tech daytime running lights for increased safety, reverse warning sensors, heated/powered door mirrors, remote locking with in-built car alarm, a height-adjustable driver's seat, two-way steering column adjustment, split folding rear seats, rear luggage cover, trip computer, Bluetooth and an MP3-compatible/radio/CD audio system with USB and AUX ports.