How could that be? The greenest car in the world would come from Korean Kia?

Kia-RioI had always thought Europe was leading the world when it comes to cars with low CO2 emissions. The Japanese challenged that with hybrids, and they succeeded. The Toyota Prius is the best hybrid car in the world, and its CO2 emissions are astonishingly low. But besides hybrids, European manufacturers are leaders because they make many cars with thrifty diesel engines whose efficiency is close to the Prius. But only 2 cars are better (numerically lower), the Volkswagen Polo TDI BlueMotion, a Yaris-sized very optimized diesel, and the diesel version of the little Smart Fortwo. That is about to change according to Kia.

Kia-RioThe Korean manufacturer will introduce a new generation of its Rio model next month in Geneva. It will come with several engines, gasoline or diesel, and Kia hasn’t released all the details yet, but there will be a new 1.1-liter diesel whose CO2 emissions should be only 85 grams-per-kilometer on the European tests. The Prius does 89-g/km in that same test, and the Smart diesel gets 86. So Kia would lead the world as the manufacturer of the non plug-in car with the lowest CO2 emissions? I hadn’t expected that…

We will get confirmation in Geneva, but whatever the outcome, I already know Kia’s crown, if real, will not last, as Volkswagen is readying a super efficient version of its upcoming Up model, which should be available within a year.