Same Size, Bigger Ideas: The All-New Kia Picanto

The 2017 Picanto made its public debut at this year’s Geneva motor show with a sporty new GT-Line variant, a new turbocharged engine and more kit to take on its rivals;

For the first time in the Picanto’s lifespan, the city car will gain sportily styled GT-Line and GT-Line S trims, which get more equipment, a muscular body kit, bespoke paintwork and a new steering wheel.

The third-generation Picanto will only be offered as a five-door model, following in the footsteps of its Rio supermini sibling, as the slow selling three-door struggled to find customers in the current generation car. Despite a longer wheelbase and shorter front overhang, though, the new car is no larger than its predecessor – but does offer more head and legroom as well as a larger boot inside.

Engines

As you’d expect, the Picanto’s engine range is based around frugal petrol engines. Both the current options – a three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol with 66bhp and 71lb/ft of torque and a four-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol with 83bhp – are carried over to this new car, but joining the range is a new turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol. With 99bhp, it’s the most powerful option in the range, and can propel the Picanto to 60mph in 10.1sec. It’s likely to also be the most economical option, although official MPG and CO2 figures have yet to be revealed.

The default gearbox choice is a five-speed manual, but a four-speed automatic is available as an option on the 1.25-litre petrol.

Upmarket interior

The new Picanto’s cabin is dominated by a new 7 inch touchscreen infotainment system, which will be standard-fit in the UK. Drivers will be able to control their smartphones using the Apple Carplay and Android Auto services, while the options list includes a reversing camera, wireless smartphone charger and USB port.

When it comes to luggage space, the Picanto’s boot can now carry up to 255 litres – more than Hyundai’s i10 – and up to 1010 litres with the rear seats folded flat.

Personalisation also plays a big part in the new Picanto. Drivers will be able to specify one of five so-called ‘colour packs’ in the UK, allowing them to choose colours for the seats and stitching, as well as interior door panels.

Kia says the new Picanto is the safest A-segment car it has ever made. Six airbags come as standard, while optional extras include a knee airbag and automatic emergency braking (AEB). AEB will be a crucial factor in the new Picanto achieving a maximum Euro NCAP safety score under the body’s dual ratings system – and increasingly UK buyers are paying attention to those safety scores.

Small car means big business

CEO of Kia Motors Europe Michael Cole expects the UK to be the biggest market for the new Picanto, and says the new GT-Line versions have been developed to attract younger customers to the brand. “We want the cars to appeal to a young customer, but we also have to recognize that we’re very much targeting the ‘young at heart’ too. The demands are not that different between a 25-year-old and a 55-year-old.”

The Picanto goes on sale in the UK in May, costing from around £9255 in entry-level 1.0 1 guise.