Kia is the latest carmaker to announce plans for the launch of a range of ultra-efficient vehicles, with its first enviro-friendly vehicle tipped to be a new clean version of the Ceed hatch. The new car will be based on the Kia eco_cee’d concept car (pictured) that was unveiled at last month’s Frankfurt Motor Show and will feature the same 1.6L CRDi diesel engine and fuel-saving modifications.

These modifications are claimed to improve fuel economy by up to 17% and lower carbon-dioxide emissions by up to 8.4%. Official figures put fuel consumption at just 3.9L/100km and CO2 emissions at104g/km. According to Just-Auto, the Eco range will be offered in both three and five-door hatchback form as well as a five-door wagon.

Some of the modifications include a lowered ride height, flat underbody protection, wheel arch linings with ’spoiler’ lips to smooth airflow, a low drag front grille and low rolling resistance Michelin tires. Changes to the engine consist of reduced turbo boost pressure, enhanced fuel-injection timing and reduced friction between internals. There will also be a new engine stop-start system and regenerative braking.

The first cars should be in European showrooms in the first half of 2009.