Quick - what is the cheapest hybrid car on the market in America? Did you say the Saturn Aura hybrid? Well, you're right. Priced at around $22,000, the Aura is the least expensive hybrid for 2007. As we mentioned earlier, Toyota is making a new discounted version of the Prius which should go for less, though. According to this article, Kia would like to take the banner away from both Saturn and Toyota with their Rio hybrid. We've shown you the Rio hybrid before, but price had never been brought up. The 1.4 liter engine combined with the electric motor should give over 40 miles per gallon and reduce emissions by 37%, according to our source article. Performance is leisurely, though. Getting the needle to sixty takes more than 12 seconds after you initially say go. The machine does stop the engine when it's not required, so that is good. They also have reduced the weight by 23% by using aluminum where possible and replacing the hydraulic power steering with an electric unit. The Korean Ministry of the Environment has ordered 3,390 hybrids from Kia and Hyundai, so hopefully all the bugs will be worked out if and when it comes to America. All steps in the right direction, but the car really should be well below $20,000 to challenge the Aura and Prius in the American market. We'll see!
- Asia Pulse: Korea will "churn out" hybrids by 2011
- Kia Rio hybrid makes an appearance, should be here in 2009
- Geneva Preview: Kia's Rio Hybrid
[Source: Hybrid Vehicles]