- Kia’s baby’s birth at ’17 Geneva auto show
- New shell design and cabin, ‘floating’ touchscreen
- FIrst turbo engine for Picanto, diesel engine later
EARLIER MODELS were some of the cutest baby-cars around but now Kia is bringing to market an all-new, third-generation, model and ‘sneak previewed’ it ahead of the March 2017 Geneva auto show.
The cars will reach showrooms in Europe in the second quarter of the year and South Africa in the third quarter – though Kia SA can’t yet specify model range or prices.
Kia HQ says of the car: “It will bring a new, more youthful and energetic, character to the A-segment with its assertive design and high-quality, high-tech, cabin. There will also be greater potential for customisation – certainly the car promises to be the most versatile car in its class.”
Kia says the Picanto will be powered by one of three petrol engines, among them Kia’s new one-litre turbocharged direct-injection petrol T-GDI but only later in the year.
“It will be the first turbopetrol engine in the range – and the most powerful engine yet offered in a Picanto.”
Michael Cole, Kia Europe’s chief operating officer, told The Corner in a media release: “The Picanto is one of Kia’s best-selling world models. Our European customers have told us they loved the design of the outgoing Picanto. its low running costs, its compact size for city driving, and the high level of equipment for the price.
“The new model retains these strengths but also new levels of dynamism, performance, connectivity, safety and technology. We’re confident it will build market share in its segment.”
More than 1.4-million of the current Picanto have been delivered worldwide since launch back in 2011; even when it was known that the car was nearing the end of its life cycle more than 55 000 were sold in Europe in 2016 – three percent more than the previous year!”
HUGE COLOUR CHOICE
Kia design centres in Namyang, Korea and Frankfurt, Germany, collaborated to create the cars’ “youthful and energetic” look with a focus on “innovation, fun – an urban city car”.
Under that redesign the car’s wheelbase has been stretched by 15mm to 2.4m and the front overhang has been shortened by 25mm with each wheel pushed diagonally further outward. The car’s overall length is unchanged at 3.595m.
The body colour choice runs to 11, six of them metallic. The base model has steel wheel rims, other models can fit fitted with any of four aluminium styles from 14 to 6″ – but each has new projector-style headlights and diode-lit turn indicators and daytime lights.
The latest Picanto range will include a GT-Line with red, silver and black highlights on the grille, air intakes along the valences and chrome-tipped twin exhausts.
Being small doesn’t mean being parsimonious in the cabin. The predominantly horizontal design, Kia says, “adds greater visual width to the interior, highlighting the increased cabin dimensions”.
The facia has 19cm ‘floating’ touchscreen and is available with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto for full smartphone integration. Options include a rear parking camera with dynamic guidelines and a wireless smartphone charger and USB port.
At the heart of the centre console several controls have been moved to be directly ahead of the driver, held together by a satin chrome-effect strip.
The automaker has also gone big on customisation: black and grey cloth seats are standard but buyers can also personalise their car choice from five optional colour packs that offer artificial leather upholstery and stitching:
▪ High-gloss black – a combination of black, grey and white upholstery with white stitching and a black or grey base colour.
▪ Brown – brown seats with light blue flashes down the side and light blue stitching.
▪ Blue – navy and true blue artificial leather and cloth upholstery with white and orange stitching.
▪ Red – black and grey seats with red flashes and red stitching.
▪ Lime – grey and light-grey upholstery with lime green stitching.
The contrast colours of the seats can be paired with optional colour pads on the door armrests and finally, the Picanto GT-Line will have a D-cut steering wheel and be available with the full range of colour packs.
Three-door models have been discontinued but Kia says the cabin has more leg- and head-room than best-selling rivals, the step-in is lower than before and the floor-facia space increased by 15mm for more knee and leg space.
The rear seating offers two or three seats though 1.2-litre units are five-seat only; the front seats are separated by a sliding-top armrest containing space for a one-litre water bottle.
CHOICE OF THREE ENGINES
The boot volume has grown from 200 to 255 litres – Kia says it the biggest in class – and its floor can be raised or lowered by 145mm for security space. The 60:40 split seat can be folded flat to increase boot volume to 1010 litres.
The cars have a range of three “highly-efficient small petrol engines. The one and 1.25-litre fuel-injected engines continue from the previous edition and a one-litre turbo version added..
The one-litre MPI engine provides 49kW / 96Nm torque, the mid-range 1.25-litre MPI 62kW / 122Nm and the one-litre T-GDI engine 75kW / 172 Nm.
LONGEST STANDARD WARRANTY
The stronger but lighter body carries six crash bags (front, front side and curtain) and an optional knee bag and extra control from stability control and emergency brake pressure. Tyre-pressure monitors are options.
The 2017 Picanto will be sold with a seven-year (or 160 000km) warranty.