The all-new Kia Picanto

  • Third generation of Kia's stylish Picanto
  • More youthful and emotional design
  • 1.0-litre T-GDi turbo engine to be added later in 2017
  • Up to 64.2mpg, with emissions as low as 101g/km
  • Available with advanced driver aids and connectivity features
  • A ll-new platform makes extensive use of high-strength steel
  • More passenger and luggage space with no increase in overall size

The latest version of Kia's smallest car in the UK is more spacious and more practical than its predecessor while occupying not a millimetre more road space. It introduces major improvements in quality so that it can compete on an equal footing with the premium German models which have entered its market sector since the launch of the second-generation Picanto in 2011.

Advanced connectivity and driver assistance features now keep occupants fully in touch with the outside world while minimising the risk of accidents.

An all-new platform featuring twice as much high-strength steel as the previous Picanto boosts strength and safety and the range includes new ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ variants to add a level of sportiness to the Picanto line-up.

Later this year the most powerful engine ever offered in a Picanto – a 99bhp 1.0-litre T-GDi turbocharged unit – will become available.

At launch there are modified versions of the 1.0-litre and 1.25-litre normally aspirated petrol engines from the previous Picanto, with lower fuel consumption and emissions. The all-new Picanto is capable of up to 64.2mpg, with CO2 as low as 101g/km.

In line with market demand, the Picanto is now available only as a five-door car. The former three-door variants have been discontinued.

The Picanto and its market

The Picanto competes in the A-segment, or city car, sector of the UK and European car markets, one step down in size from traditional superminis. It is a sector which is shrinking in size with increasing customer demand for crossover-type models over conventional hatchbacks, yet it still represents huge business for Kia.

The segment accounts for more than one million sales a year in Western Europe, and the all-new Picanto is expected to take around 5.1 per cent of this, with sales of more than 60,000. In the UK, A-segment sales amount to around 130,000 a year and the Picanto has regularly been one of the top five best-selling models. The UK contributes almost a quarter of all-new Picanto sales in Europe. Around 60 per cent of buyers are women, and private buyers account for four out of every five customers.

In this area of the market, size matters. Customer research shows that city-car buyers do not want big cars, so Kia engineers and designers have ensured that the all-new Picanto is no larger than the previous model, while delivering greater space and practicality. Price, exterior design, value for money and equipment – areas in which Kia has traditionally been strong – are the prime motivators among customers. Kia confidently expects the more stylish, more spacious, sportier and more modern newcomer to increase its market share significantly in the next few years.

There are nine versions of the all-new Picanto on offer in the UK at launch, based on two engines, two transmissions and five trim lines – badged ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’. Towards the end of the year the 1.0-litre T-GDi engine will become available. All will be five-door models, since three-door cars account for only 10 per cent of sales in the sector, and that share is diminishing.

More space and more style within the same compact footprint

The all-new Picanto is 3,595mm long and 1,595mm wide ­– exactly the same as the previous model. However, those figures do not reveal the ingenuity that has gone into the new car's packaging to improve passenger and luggage space. The all-new Picanto is 5mm taller than the previous model at 1,485mm, and has a 15mm longer wheelbase – now 2,400mm. The front overhang is shorter to give the car a squatter, sportier stance, while the rear overhang is longer to enhance the profile and create more luggage space, which goes up from 200 litres to a class-best 255 litres. This increases to 1,010 litres with the rear seats folded.

There is a lower waistline to make the cabin lighter and more airy, a slimmer dashboard to enhance space for the driver and front passenger, and lower seats placed further backwards in the cabin. There is more front head, leg and shoulder room than in the previous model, with largely unchanged space in the rear.

The changes in wheelbase and overhang dimensions have given the all-new Picanto a different character to its predecessor. Whereas the previous model was regarded by buyers as 'cute' and 'cheeky', the newcomer is sportier and more sophisticated. It has a more voluminous body which is simpler and modern. The design was a joint effort by Kia's studios in Germany and at Namyang in South Korea, where the car is sold under the 'Morning' name.

At the front there are wider grilles and air intakes flanked by multi-focus reflector or bi-function projection headlamp units, depending on model. The front foglamps, where fitted, are housed in separate side grilles or, on ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ models, within the main lower grille. Air curtains in the side grilles channel air away from the wheel arches and wheels to reduce turbulence and improve aerodynamics while adding a more dynamic appearance. There is a bolder, more assertive bumper, which is echoed at the rear. The top of the windscreen is castellated, as on the Sportage and other models

The black upper radiator grille with a silver paint or chrome surround is wider and slimmer than before, emphasising the Picanto's sportier appearance. At the sides, the waistline is lower and flatter, the window area has consequently been enlarged and the wheel arches are more emphatic. Wheels of between 14 and 16 inches in diameter fit snugly in their housings, there are body-colour or chromed door handles, black or chrome belt-line strips and black or body-coloured door mirrors, with integrated indicators on upper models. The wide rear roof pillar – a familiar Kia styling feature – is now more upright to accentuate the greater cabin space.

At the rear, C-shaped rear light clusters are retained, but these are now larger and feature added detail.

Inside, the all-new Picanto follows other recent new Kias with a horizontally structured dashboard split into display and control areas, separated by a satin chrome trim strip which emphasises the cabin's width and the car's strong, stable stance. Vertical ventilation outlets at the outer edges of the dashboard act as bookends for the instruments and display areas.

New materials and trim enhancements emphasise the significantly improved quality of the all-new Picanto. The seats are in smart black cloth, premium black cloth or black and red faux leather, depending on model; there are black, silver paint or satin chrome door handles; and leather trim adorns the steering wheel and gear-lever from grade ‘2’.

‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ have larger front and rear bumpers and red highlights within the upper grille and side air intakes, along the side sills and in the lower rear bumper, which contains a diffuser section and twin exhaust tailpipes. They will also, uniquely, have the black and red faux leather upholstery, satin chrome interior door handles and stainless steel pedals with non-slip rubber inserts.

The ‘GT-Line S’ and grade ‘3’ versions are distinguished by a 7-inch centre-mounted 'floating' touchscreen, giving access to the navigation, infotainment and connectivity systems, which include integration with Kia Connected Services powered by TomTom® and Android Auto® and Apple CarPlay® via apps pre-loaded onto a smartphone.

Three powerful petrol engines including new T-GDi turbo

In line with the majority of city cars, the all-new Picanto is available only with petrol engines because diesel engines add to the purchase price while offering few advantages in overall running costs.

The all-new Picanto's three powerful and refined petrol engines will include – for the first time – a 99bhp three-cylinder 1.0-litre T-GDi (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct injection) unit, which becomes available later in the year.

All three engines are from the Kappa family. The T-GDi unit is supported by a three-cylinder 66bhp 1.0-litre engine and a four-cylinder 83bhp 1.25. Both of these are multi-point injection (MPi) engines, now with reduced fuel consumption and emissions thanks to extensive re-engineering. The entry-level 1.0-litre engine, for example, is capable of 64.2mpg, with CO2 emissions of only 101g/km. Yet they provide lively performance for zipping around in urban traffic, with plenty in reserve for highway driving.A five-speed manual gearbox is standard, but a four-speed automatic is optional with the 1.25 MPi engine.

All-new platform boosts driving dynamics and safety

The third-generation Picanto is built on Kia's all-new and immensely strong H platform, which boosts both driving dynamics and safety.

The amount of advanced high-strength steel in the body construction has doubled compared with the outgoing Picanto, from 22 per cent to 44 percent, making the all-new car's shell not only more robust but also 23 kilogrammes lighter. At the same time, the amount of structural adhesives bonding the body sections together has increased almost nine-fold, from 7.8 to 67 metres, to add further stiffness.

As a result, the all-new Picanto is 32 per cent better than its predecessor in torsional stiffness and 12 per cent better for tensile strength. A stiffer body benefits ride comfort and handling by allowing the suspension to do its work without having to compensate for flexing; helps to reduce noise, vibration and harshness; and provides a stronger, safer barrier in the event of impact.

The all-new Picanto, like its predecessor, has MacPherson strut front suspension, but now features a U-shaped torsion beam at the rear and revised trailing arms for improved handling with reduced weight. Steering column-mounted Motor-Driven Power Steering (MDPS) with quickened responses reduces turning effort for parking and manoeuvring while providing a firm feel and good feedback at higher speeds. The ride and handling also benefit from measures to reduce cornering roll, while the longer wheelbase and shorter front overhang improve agility and shift the weight balance slightly rearwards. Re-packaging of the mechanical components lowers the centre of gravity, which further boosts responsiveness.

Driver and passenger well-being have also been improved by measures to reduce noise, vibration and harshness. These include greater use of foam, insulation pads and body strips, plus new engine mounts and revised, quieter heating and ventilation units. Even the windscreen wipers have been placed lower to reduce wind noise.

All models are available, either as standard or as an option, with Autonomous Emergency Braking, which can bring the car to a complete stop at speeds up to 50mph and to a partial stop at speeds over this figure. Fitted as standard are Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) help to counteract loss of traction and potential skids, while Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) prevents the car from rolling backwards when setting off on uphill gradients.

Torque Vectoring is a first for Kia in the city-car class and a further aid to handling stability. Using the anti-lock brake and ESC sensors, it detects when the car is drifting off its intended course in corners and gently brakes the inside rear wheel if the front of the car is running wide, or the outer rear wheel if the rear tyres are starting to slide outwards. It is standard on all models.

The all-new Picanto in the UK

Small cars do not have to be spartan cars. In fact, customers cite equipment levels among their chief considerations in deciding what to buy. The all-new Picanto will not disappoint.

Even the entry-level grade ‘1’ model features electric front windows, remote locking with a folding key, tinted windows, a radio with AUX and USB ports, a tilt-adjustable steering column, automatic headlight control, electronic stability control (ESC), vehicle stability management (VSM), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), 60:40 split folding rear seats and six airbags. Options include metallic paint and Automatic Emergency Braking.

From grade ‘2’, air conditioning, electric rear windows, electric heated door mirrors, Bluetooth with music streaming, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear-lever. There is a four-speaker rather than a two-speaker audio system, high-gloss black centre fascia trim, body-coloured door handles and side mirror housings, a chromed grille surround and 14-inch alloy wheels in place of steel rims.

Grade ‘3’ adds Autonomous Emergency Braking as standard, 15-inch alloy wheels, a supervision instrument cluster, front fog lights, electric folding mirrors with LED indicators, a floor-mounted sliding centre armrest, automatic air conditioning, cruise control with a speed limiter, a 7-inch 'floating' central display unit with satellite navigation and full connectivity, Bluetooth with voice recognition, a DAB radio as part of a six-speaker audio system, a rear parking camera and sensors and chromed exterior door handles.

Distinguishing features on the ‘GT-Line’ model are 16-inch alloy wheels, sports front and rear bumpers and side sills, a dual exhaust, black and red faux leather seats, a supervision instrument cluster, electric folding mirrors with LED indicators, satin chrome interior door handles, privacy glass on the rear windows and tailgate, bi-function projection headlamp units, LED daytime running lamps and rear lights, a chrome beltline strip and stainless steel pedals with non-slip rubber inserts.

To this, ‘GT-Line S’ adds a wireless phone charger, an electric sunroof, heated front seats and steering wheel, a smart key and push-button engine start/stop, a 7-inch central display unit with satellite navigation and connected services, DAB radio, rear parking camera and sensors, a dual-height boot floor, luggage net and hooks and a driver's-side illuminated vanity mirror.

The best warranty in the business

In line with every Kia, the all-new Picanto comes with the best warranty in the business – seven years or 100,000 miles, including labour, subject to terms and conditions. The warranty is fully transferable to the next owner if the car is sold before the time or mileage limit expires. The all-new Picanto requires servicing every 10,000 miles or 12 months, and retail customers are able to benefit from low-cost Care-3 and Care-3 Plus servicing packages. These are also transferable.

The all-new Picanto range:

Model
Power
bhp
Torque
Nm
0-60
sec
Max speed
mph
Average
mpg
CO2
g/km
Picanto ‘1’ 1.0 66bhp 5-speed manual
66
96
13.8
100
64.2
101
Picanto ‘2’ 1.0 66bhp 5-speed manual
66
96
13.8
100
64.2
101
Picanto ‘2’ 1.25 83bhp 5-speed manual
83
122
11.6
107
61.4
106
Picanto ‘2’ 1.25 83bhp 4-speed auto
83
122
13.2
100
52.3
124
Picanto ‘GT-Line’ 1.0 66bhp 5-speed manual
66
96
13.8
100
64.2
101
Picanto ‘GT-Line’ 1.25 83bhp 5-speed manual
83
122
11.6
107
61.4
106
Picanto ‘3’ 1.25 83bhp 5-speed manual
83
122
11.6
107
61.4
106
Picanto ‘3’ 1.25 83bhp 4-speed auto
83
122
13.2
100
52.3
124
Picanto ‘GT-Line S’ 1.25 83bhp 5-speed manual
83
122
11.6
107
61.4
106