By on July 11, 2014


Kia is apparently looking at expanding into the niche diesel market in the United States – but not just yet.

Speaking to Just Auto, Kia’s Orth Hendrick, who is VP of Product Planning, said

“The problem right now is that there are different emissions standards in Europe and the US, which means we would be faced with different after-treatments, and that makes it very expensive…But with EU6 in 2017-18 there would be the same standards in both Europe and the US, and that gives us a better chance.”

Now, the question is, what will be Kia’s first diesel? If I had to place a bet, I’d say the next-generation Soul.

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28 Comments on “Kia Eyeing Diesels For U.S. Market...”

  • avatar

    My cursory internet searching hasn’t really yielded any answers: does EU6 bring European emissions standards closer to US ones? Or is this some sort of agreement between the two?

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Probably correct in assuming the Soul.

    But I am longing to place in my driveway the ultimate utilitarian, commuter, suburban family vehicle. A diesel, manual transmission Kia Rondo/Carens.

    Long available in Europe with these specs. Kia only offered the automatic, gasoline powered Rondo in North America. And the current version is available in Canada but not the U.S.

    • 0 avatar

      I like that Rondo/C-Max category of passenger microvans too: big inside, small outside. I’ve enjoyed driving diesel/manual examples of the segment in Europe. I currently drive Ford C-Max Hybrid in the US, and if anything I enjoy its hybrid/eCVT powertrain even more: you get the torque and economy of a diesel, the full-throttle hustle of a gasser, less noise / vibration / harshness than either; and you’re always in the ideal gear.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Back when the first-gen Soul was a “coming soon!” product, I saw one at the local auto show, and it was a diesel for some wacky reason.

  • avatar

    This’ll happen same time Mazda gets theirs over. I.e., never.

    Until Honda or Toyota bring a diesel car over (I.e., never), VW will continue to own 90% or more of the US diesel car market.

    • 0 avatar

      You hit the nail on the head. Diesels are just not worth it here because the cost of meeting emissions pushes the engines and fuel costs to the point where you never make up the cost difference over the vehicle lifetime. Even compare the vw jetta 1.8 TSI to the 2.0 TDI and the gas engine makes all the sense. Diesel is only worth it when you’re towing. In the application of automobiles it’s a wom and that’s why the mazda6 diesel is never coming over.

      on a side note the mazda6 is probably the most overhyped car I’ve ever read about. The motor blows, it’s not engaging to drive, it still weighs more with less interior room than a camry, and it’s hardly any bigger than it’s platform mate the 3. Sorry mazda fans but the new 6 is a total wom who’s getting it’s sales eaten by it’s showroom sibling and that’s why it’s not selling well.

      • 0 avatar

        you hate the Mazda6. We get it.

      • 0 avatar

        “Even compare the vw jetta 1.8 TSI to the 2.0 TDI and the gas engine makes all the sense.”

        When you make that comparison, make sure you spec the TSI with 17″ alloy wheels, Bluetooth, heated seats and mirrors, upgraded touchscreen audio, leather-wrapped MFI steering wheel, additional interior lighting, etc. – all standard equipment on the TDI. You gotta go with SEL trim to get most of that, and Bluetooth is STILL a $500 option (according to Edmunds). At that point you’ve pretty much erased the diesel engine price premium.

        For people who do a lot of hwy miles the diesel still beats most gassers’ mpg, even when you correct for fuel cost. TDIs are well known for easily exceeding EPA numbers, gassers often have trouble just matching EPA. I drive routinely through 5 or 6 eastern states, and my average fuel cost/mile is about equal to a 42 mpg gasser. Sure those cars exist, but they typically have <125hp, about as much torque, and are not much fun to drive.

        It doesn’t bother me at all that so many people think diesels aren’t worth it. People that think otherwise are keeping resale stupid high on them – good for me when I wanna sell mine.

        Drive what makes you happy and enjoy it.

        • 0 avatar

          VW offers a Jetta TDI Value Edition now that doesn’t have any of the extra stuff on it (basically a SE trim with the diesel) and is about $2400 less than the “normal” TDI.

          Personally, the transmission choice would be my deciding factor. If I was getting a manual then I’d want the TDI with its six-speed. If I was going auto, I’d go with the gas engine’s more conventional 6A tiptronic over the diesel’s DSG.

          • 0 avatar

            Good point re the value edition.

            Just curious, why the slushbox over the DSG? I know the usual answers to that question – concerns about long-term reliability, cost of maintenance – just wondering if you had a different reason.

      • 0 avatar

        Wom? Women over mates? Word of mouth? Or just short for “wombat”??

      • 0 avatar

        Regarding towing on a TDI – Note that the DSG equipped cars are not allowed to tow anything according to VWoA. But in Europe they’re rated to tow something like 500 kilograms.

        We have a 2012 TDI and a 2014 TSI, both automatics. Both engines have their strengths and weaknesses. I recently returned from a long trip in my TDI wagon and achieved 42.1 US MPG. That was with 2 people, the hatch area filled with cargo, A/C on the whole day and speeds between 55-80 depending on traffic flow. We previously had an old 2000 Jetta TDI sedan (automatic) and the best I could manage in that thing was about 40 MPG on a long trip.

        While it’s possible that the new TDIs won’t get quite the same economy as manual transmission early 2000s cars, they’re so much more refined and powerful that I’m okay with a small hit in fuel economy. We looked at Prii but those things were dogs that made me sad and I couldn’t imagine driving one every day.

        The only thing comparable to a Jetta TDI wagon in 2012 was the Prius V. So I choose a TDI wagon and am still happy with it. Hopefully Kia brings over some diesels at some point. But if not I’m going to enjoy my oddball car while I can.

        • 0 avatar


          Sounds like we both made a similar decision about the same time – as you said, in 2012 there was just nothing quite comparable to a TDI, and in some ways there still isn’t.
          Your experience mpg-wise sounds just about right for a JSW with a pretty good payload. I can break 50 mpg hwy with my ’12 Golf DSG, but that’s with no headwind, warm air temps and cruising <65mph. Under the worst conditions (winter cold, headwind, 70+mph) I can still manage low-to-mid 40s mpg. (Golf is ~250lbs lighter than JSW)
          BTW, there's no way I'd trade the DSG for a MT just for a few extra MPGs.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      @kvndoom, 3800FAN: +1

      It’s tough to make a diesel that gets 30% better fuel economy (to justify the extra fuel expense), and not charge too much for the option to begin with – especially in small cars.

      • 0 avatar

        Back in 2004 my Golf TDI made perfect sense. It got 38/46, which I often exceeded.

        Now the power rating has gone up, just to please people who only buy HP numbers, but the fuel economy suffers vs the 4-bangers you can buy on the same lot.

        • 0 avatar

          As someone whose ratio of hwy/city miles is roughly 75/25, my MK6 Golf TDI still made perfect sense in 2012. At the time I saw nothing else with the same combination of Prius-matching hwy mpg, acceleration and handling characteristics, and standard equipment for the money – and still don’t.
          I’m not saying it’s right for most people, but I can easily afford to switch to something that suits my priorities better if I found such a car. I have not (and I’m always looking).

          • 0 avatar

            VW continuously teases us with the GTD. I’d buy that over a GTI in a heartbeat, but without it being sold here, I’d still buy the GTI over the Golf. I just like its more aggressive styling.

          • 0 avatar

            GTD is the one car that could make me give up my Golf right now.

  • avatar

    If anyone is looking for a good comparison of emissions standards, fuel standards, etc.

    Good place has nice charts that show the different between euro standards and epa.

    Right now the epa allows slightly more nox, but lower pm limits than euro 6. 2016 would be the year as thats when the full euro 6 standard goes into place including obd standards. Very very close to the epa 2010 standards.

  • avatar

    Most diesel-powered Kias/Hyundais sold in Europe are pretty meh.

    • 0 avatar

      The diesel in the Optima is too weak for the size (needs the diesel from the K7/Cadenza).

      The Sportage diesel isn’t bad – pretty decent lower end torque.

  • avatar

    The winner here would be a butched up Soul micro SUV. Lift it a bit, AWD, whatever. Then, it’s a diesel SUV, and diesel and truck still go together in the US.

  • avatar

    My bet would be the Sorrento. In Australasia (and possibly Europe–I haven’t bothered to look it up), the 2.2 L oil burner makes up the bulk of the line. The 2.4 L Theta engine is available only on the most basic model, and no V6 gasoline option is available. From what I have gathered (haven’t had time to test drive them yet), the diesel option is far superior.

  • avatar

    Why do people always assume that the only reason to buy diesel is to save money? (and then get into hair splitting calculations… btw diesel has been cheaper than 87 octane unleaded since early spring)

    Do people buy Teslas to save money? No. They like the idea of an EV… same with diesel… Some people find diesels to be technically and intellectually appealing.

    Back to the original question, my prediction is that Kia will bring in a high end SUV with diesel not your entry level model… Because it is easier to hide the extra cost of a diesel with a high markup high end model than it would be on a entry level model… e.g. a $15K car with a $5K diesel option is going to look a lot worse than a $45K car with a $5K diesel option.

    But a lot of these “announcements” are just to test the waters to see what kind of feedback they get.

    • 0 avatar

      Wow you are lucky to have cheap fuel prices. Diesel costs vary depending on where one lives. Here in the Northeast diesel is usually more expensive than premium gas. Right now where I live it is 5 cents less but once October comes around it will shoot up to in price as gasoline prices drop. So diesels still doesn’t make much sense for the vast majority of drivers.

  • avatar

    I’m only buying a diesel Kia Soul if I can give it smoke stack exhaust and roll coal with the sucker.

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