A refreshed version of the Kia Picanto has been shown in Europe and is set to make its way to SA by the end of the year. So, what’s new?
As with most facelifts towards the end of a vehicle’s life, there are updates surrounding the interior, exterior, safety and engine lineup of this Picanto.
The exterior changes are mostly directed at the GT-Line and X-Line (crossover-styled) models, neither of which are confirmed for SA but are being considered. The Tiger Nose Grille comes with a chrome textured surround that makes it look a bit like a link in a chain. The headlights have been redesigned making the front end look much larger although exposing a lot of headlamp surface area to stone chips. The headlights also feature four-bulb LED daytime running lights.
The rear end also gets LED lights with a recognisable signature design. There are new front and rear bumpers too to visually differentiate the updated models from older models.
Ten paint variations are available for the exterior as well as 2 new alloy wheels designs - a 16-spoke 14-inch wheel and a two-tone diamond-cut 16-inch rim.
Much more upmarket interior, however European spec shown does have more features and luxuries than the local model will.
A new larger infotainment screen measure 8-inches, which is 1-inch up from the pre-facelift model. It features Bluetooth Multi-connection which allows more than one device to be paired to the car. One for mobile call use and the other for media streaming. Apple Carplay and Android Auto are also now fitted as standard.
Kia will also be introducing the UVO system which gives Picanto drivers access to live traffic information, weather forecasts, points of interest, fuel prices, and details of potential parking. The UVO App, compatible with Android and Apple smartphones, enables owners to activate a range of functions and features remotely. Depending on country, users can remotely send route directions to their car before a journey, check the location of their vehicle, and access vehicle reports and diagnostic notifications. Considering the extra cost this would incur, this connectivity might not be available in local models when they arrive.
The seats are available in either cloth or synthetic leather with a range of new upholstery textures that lift the presumed quality of the new cabin. Colour packs have also been added to the facelifted Picanto, these packs include: The Lime Pack features a black single-tone interior with lime contrast stitching and white seat bolsters, silver metal painted transmission and air vent surrounds, and silver-and-lime accents in the doors.
The Orange Pack features a black single-tone interior with orange stitching and cabin highlights, and black-and-orange door accents.
Red Pack models are finished in black upholstery with red seat bolsters, as well as gloss black highlights and red-and-black door accents.
The Green Pack offers green highlights throughout the cabin and silver-and-green door accents, as well as stylish denim-effect seat upholstery.
An automated manual is being added to the Picanto range for the first time.
The upgraded Picanto is available with three new petrol engines, each maximising efficiency and lowering CO2 emissions compared to their predecessors. The engine line-up features a 1.0-litre T-GDi (turbopetrol) engine producing 74 kW, or a pair of naturally-aspirated 1.0-litre or 1.2-litre engines, producing 49 kW and 62 kW, respectively. Kia SA has not confirmed the local engine lineup yet, but it’s a reasonably safe bet to assume the naturally-aspirated models will be brought in. An AMT (automated manual) is also now available along with a 5-speed manual gearbox.
The current Picanto model featured models that didn’t even have ABS as standard so the new host of safety features is a major upgrade for the entry Kia. SA models have not yet been specced, so we wait to see what makes it into the local lineup.
Advanced Driver Systems (ADAS) features a range of safety features that include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with vehicle and pedestrian detection. Additionally, the Picanto is available with Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Warning (DAW), and Lane Following Assist. Further to this it also has Vehicle Stability Management, Torque Vectoring, Cornering Brake Control and Straight-line Stability.