The all-new Rio from Kia is more than just a new supermini – it is shaking up the market by offering value-hunting motorists the choice of petrol or diesel 5 door hatchback versions at the same price.

Kia has taken this ground-breaking step to end the paradox that sees motorists wanting to save money by having to spend more in the first place. Most manufacturers charge up to £1,000 more for a diesel-engined model, but Kia’s new Rio range starts at just £7,995 for the GS and £8995 for the LX – whether the customer chooses the new 1.4-litre petrol or the 1.5-litre turbocharged diesel version.

New from the ground up, the Kia Rio offers increased space, greater refinement, improved safety and new comfort and convenience features. Created by Kia design teams with a passion for engineering, for European consumers with a passion for life, the new Rio is dynamic, youthful, and sporty with a bold new style.

It competes in one of the most popular sectors of the market in all major European countries. The B-segment, traditionally dominated by petrol engined versions, accounts for more than a quarter of all sales in the UK but pundits expect diesel volumes in the segment to grow considerably.

Taller (+50mm), wider (+15mm) but shorter (-250mm) than the model it replaces, the new Rio has a much longer wheelbase (+90mm). Aided by skilful packaging of the mechanical components, it now provides best-in-class interior space for maximum occupant comfort.

The new Rio’s wheelbase is between 9mm and 40mm longer than those of leading European superminis, while its overall width is from 12mm to 49mm greater and its overall length 30mm to 168mm bigger.

Power levels have been raised to ensure it also has best-in-class performance. The all-new 96bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine, making its world debut in the new Rio, generates 17.5% more power than the class average, while the modern Euro IV compliant 109bhp 1.5-litre CRDi turbodiesel delivers 36% more power than most diesels in this segment.

Yet despite the improved performance, fuel economy is also better. In manual-gearbox form, the 1.4-litre new Rio covers 44.8 miles per gallon on the official combined cycle with the automatic covering 39.2mpg and the 1.5 CRDi 60.1mpg which means that with a 45-litre fuel tank it has a potential range of nearly 600 miles.

Kia’s decision to offer either engined variant at the same price is intended to make the choice easier for those high mileage motorists who would like diesel but have previously been constrained by budget in a sector dominated by private sales. However, strong fleet sales in the B-segment demand diesel options and Kia’s new 1.5 CRDi will give the Kia brand additional opportunities in this growing market.

Both engines come with a five-speed manual transmission as standard but a four-speed automatic specifically developed and tuned for the Rio is offered with the petrol engine.

Kia has a tradition for supplying cars with generous levels of equipment, and the new Rio continues that policy in the entry level GS fitted with twin front airbags, air conditioning, front electric windows, central door locking, power steering, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, a JVC CD audio with MP3 player and split rear folding seats.

In addition the LX gains 15″ alloys, body coloured door handles and mirrors, front fog lights, front and rear electric windows, twin side and curtain airbags, active head restraints and remote central locking with perimeter alarm.

The optional dynamic pack adds a sportier look to the Rio with a rear spoiler and sun roof while Electronic Stability Program provides additional safety.

The new Rio’s strong body structure helps towards much-improved levels of NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) and provides an ideal platform for the car’s excellent safety.

Kia Motors ( UK) Limited Managing Director Paul Williams commented: “Over the past two and a half years Kia has brought an array of dramatically improved products to the UK market and new Rio continues that seismic shift.

“Our commitment to value without prejudicing quality or engineering has made Kia one of the fastest growing car brands in the UK, Europe and the world since 2003 and Rio will open up Kia motoring to a much wider audience of cost-conscious but demanding motorists. By taking an industry-leading position to offer petrol or diesel engine options at the same price Kia is giving more people the opportunity to save more money without having to pay a premium to start with,” he added.