Kia’s new A-segment car for Europe becomes more premium and aims to be even better value for buyers.
Scheduled to be unveiled to the global audience at the upcoming 2017 Geneva Motor Show in March, Kia has revealed images and details of the all-new third generation Picanto to select media. The Picanto happens to be a rather important model for Kia in Europe where sales of the car grew by 3 per cent on a Y-o-Y basis in 2016 despite the second-gen car coming to an end of its life cycle. The previous car was a definitive value for money offering and this is a core aspect that Kia has based the new model around.
Destined to go on sale in the second quarter of 2017, the new Kia Picanto has been made to look more modern from the outside with a simple design that blends in some catchy design lines. While the overall frame and silhouette of the car remains the same as the earlier model the new model has an aggressive front end with a more prominent grille and a much wider mesh air dam. The car now gets projector head lamps with LED DRLs and indicators. The rear of the car retains a similar layout as earlier only with more modern lines and design elements.
While the overall profile of the car remains the same as its predecessor’s the third generation Kia Picanto wheelbase has increased by 15mm, its front overhang has been reduced by 25mm while rear overhang has increased by 10mm. This has allowed Kia to free up more space for the interiors by also raising the dash to increase leg room for front passengers. As a result you get more in-cabin space and a bigger 255 litre boot.
Lending a premium appeal to the bigger cabin are better quality materials and seat materials from more expensive Kias to make the new Picanto feel more upmarket. In order to do this properly Kia has also loaded up the new Picanto with a host of equipment including 7 inch touchscreen interface with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. You can even have the car fitted with wireless charging for your mobile phone as an option. On the aesthetics front, buyers will be able to choose from a range of upholstery and door trim colour options to lend an individualistic appeal to the car. The car can be specified as a five-seater or four seater model as the rear seat comes with a single or double split option.
The third generation Kia Picanto will be offered with a range of three petrol engine options. A 1.0 litre 65bhp engine, a 1.25 litre 80bhp unit and a direct injection turbocharged 1.0 litre engine with 96bhp. The new engines are designed to be more refined and mechanically efficient. The turbocharged engine will be made available in the performance oriented Picanto GT variant that will be launched towards the end of 2017. All engines are mated to a five-speed manual gearbox while the 1.25 litre unit gets the option of a four speed automatic transmission.
In order to improve the Picanto’s handling Kia has quickened the steering rack by 13 per cent, the front anti-roll bar has been mounted lower and made 2 per cent stiffer while the rear one has been stiffened by 5 per cent. The rear suspension of the car has also been redesigned and is now 1.8 kg lighter. All of this has resulted in body roll angle being reduced by 1 degree.
On the safety front the Kia Picanto is now built from higher tensile steel and it is now built with eight times more structural adhesive making the car lighter and stronger than before. Active safety features include electronic stability programme, vehicle stability management and six airbags with the option of a driver’s knee airbag.
When the new 2017 Kia Picanto goes on sale it will be offered with the company’s unique seven years and 1,50,000 km warranty.
Kia is mulling its entry into India at the moment and in the likely case that it does launch here the Picanto could be one of the models since it is built on the same platform has the Hyundai Grand i10 sold here although there is no confirmation of its India model range at the moment.