The third-generation version of the brand’s city car follows its larger Rio sister by being offered as a five-door model only, Kia reacting like other manufacturers to declining sales for small three-door cars.
It also debuts the most powerful engine yet offered in a Picanto, while buyers will also for the first time be able to choose a sports-pitched GT-Line trim level.
While remaining the same length as its predecessor, the new Picanto boasts a wheelbase extended by 15mm to 2,400mm, the wheels pushed closer to the edges of the car. The front overhang is reduced by 25mm, the rear extended 10mm. Kia says this gives the car more of a planted stance, complementing the more distinctive lines of the exterior and the signature ‘tiger nose’ grille.
The current trend to individuality is served by 11 paint finishes, six of them new to the car, and the opportunity to upgrade the 14-inch steel wheels to 16 inches. Projection headlamps with LED indicators are fitted along with LED daytime running lights.
GT Line models will gain additional exterior detailing with red, silver and black highlights in the grille, side intakes, along the side skirts and in the rear valance, as well as chrome-tipped twin exhausts.
Inside there is more space, particularly in the boot that grows from 200 to 255 litres, and a horizontal design to increase the impression of width, while the materials and layout have been upgraded to offer a feeling of greater quality.
A new dash layout includes a central seven-inch touchscreen, effectively moving several controls upwards and closer to the driver. Five separate colour packs will be available to customise the upholstery, while GT-Line versions will also be fitted with a D-shaped steering wheel.
New turbo engine
The Picanto engine line-up will comprise three petrol units. Alongside the 1.0 67hp and 1.25-litre 84hp variants carried over from the outgoing Picanto, the car gains a new 1-litre T-GDI (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) engine.
Joining the range in Autumn 2017, the T-GDI produces 100hp with 172Nm of torque. Efficiency figures for the unit are yet to be revealed, but both the other engines have seen their efficiency improved, the 67hp unit cutting CO2 emissions by 6g/km to just 89g/km.
Five-speed manual transmissions will be standard, but the 1.25 unit will also be offered with a four-speed auto unit.
Prices for the new Picanto are yet to be revealed though industry observers expect them to be close to the current car’s, starting at around £9,000 and also boasting Kia’s seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty.