Kia’s smallest model, the Kia Picanto, features a range of substantial mid-life upgrades, keeping it one step ahead of its competitors. The upgraded model boasts a vibrant design and fun-driving attitude, combined with ‘class-above’ connectivity and safety technologies, and lower emissions from newly reengineered powertrains.
The upgraded Picanto brings with it a suite of advanced safety technology from Kia’s larger cars, making it among the safest cars in its class. It also offers Kia’s new ‘Phase II’ UVO Connect telematics technologies, enhancing vehicle connectivity and control to take the stress out of journeys. Enhancements to the Picanto’s gasoline powertrain line-up include Kia’s optional new Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) for a smoother drive.
The Picanto is one of Kia’s best-selling models in several regions worldwide, and a particular favourite among European A-segment drivers. The upgraded Picanto offers Kia’s industry-leading 7-Year, 150,000-kilometre warranty as standard.
Refreshed design with a distinct new look for GT-Line and X-Line models
The Picanto line-up has received a comprehensive enhancement to exterior design, with significant updates made to sporty GT-Line and SUV-inspired X-Line models in particular. The result is a refreshed, more distinctive appearance.
The ‘face’ of both the GT-Line and X-Line Picanto models has been revised to give each car a more purposeful design. This starts with the ‘tiger-nose’ grille, which features a new textured surround and open-link appearance. The chrome-effect surround forms a sweeping shape which extends into the lower part of the redesigned headlamps, and gives the car a wider, more stable appearance. Each side of the ‘tiger-nose’ features a red highlight on GT-Line models, or more technical black trim X-Line models which resemble air intakes.
Both versions of the car now feature redesigned headlights and four-bulb LED daytime running lights. At the rear, the car also features a new LED rear combination lamp design and a slimmer fog light design, creating a more recognisable rear light signature at the same time.
Both GT-Line and X-Line models feature refreshed front and rear bumper designs with sharper creases in the bodywork for a more contemporary appearance. The changes create a more rugged, robust-looking design for X-Line models and, for GT-Line models, an appearance which visually links the car to higher-performance GT models in Kia’s range. A larger, wider air intake in the lower bumper is accented by the GT-Line’s body-coloured bumper with gloss black highlights, and jewel-like fog lamps. X-Line models echo the appearance of SUV protective skid plates, with metal-effect trim bearing the X-Line logo, and a gloss black surround which extends from the front grille into the wheel arch surrounds at the side of the car.
The upgraded Picanto offers buyers greater potential for customisation, with a choice of 10 vibrant paint finishes designed to make the car stand out.
Improved infotainment screens and new customisation options
Inside, the Picanto features a series of visual and technological upgrades, centred around a larger 8.0-inch ‘floating’ widescreen audio visual navigation (AVN) system (see ‘Infotainment’ for more details), and a high-resolution 4.2-inch digital display in the driver’s instrument cluster.
Depending on trim level and market, the Picanto’s cabin is offered with black cloth or synthetic leather seats, with the upgraded model finished with a range of new upholstery textures for a more contemporary, higher quality look and feel. The cabin is finished with black, silver or gloss black highlights in the door, on the dashboard and around the gear selector.
The upgraded Picanto is also available with a range of trendy interior colour packs to enhance customers’ ability to customise the cabin of their car, depending on vehicle specification and market.
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. Models equipped with the Orange Pack feature 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. Finally, the Green Pack offers green highlights throughout the cabin and silver-and-green door accents, as well as stylish denim-effect seat upholstery.
New ‘Smartstream’ engine innovations increase efficiency
The upgraded Picanto is available in Europe with three new ‘Smartstream’ gasoline engines, each maximising efficiency and lowering CO2 emissions compared to their predecessors. The engine line-up features a 1.0-litre T-GDi (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) engine producing 100 ps, or a pair of naturally-aspirated 1.0-litre or 1.2-litre DPFI (dual-port fuel injection) engines, producing 67 ps and 84 ps, respectively.
Among other innovations, the 1.0-litre T-GDi engine features a more efficient 350 bar high-pressure fuel injection system. Meanwhile, the two naturally-aspirated engines replace multi-point injection with new dual-port fuel injection technology, with optimised injection timing for maximum fuel efficiency. They feature improved exhaust gas recirculation lines and optimised intake valve timing, for maximum fuel efficiency improvements.
All three engines are equipped with a new Integrated Thermal Management System (ITMS), which provides more effective combustion chamber cooling. ITMS varies engine cooling characteristics based on the engine’s operating point.
All three engines drive the front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission. The updated Picanto is also equipped with Kia’s new Automated Manual Transmission (AMT). The AMT is based around a five-speed manual transmission with clutch and gear shift actuators to automate clutch operation and gear shifts. Using a single dry clutch, the AMT is a cost-effective option for customers who favour the convenience and ease-of-use of an automatic transmission, without sacrificing the fuel efficiency of a conventional manual transmission. The AMT is available on both the 1.0- and 1.2-litre naturally aspirated engines.
UVO Connect ‘Phase II’ telematics with an upgraded touchscreen
The Picanto features a larger 8.0-inch ‘floating’ touchscreen navigation system, replacing the earlier 7.0-inch system. It also features Bluetooth multi-connection, enabling users to pair up to two mobile devices at the same time – one for hands-free phone and media use; the other for media use only. The system features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.
Kia’s new ‘Phase II’ UVO Connect telematics features include a range of on-board services including live traffic information, weather forecasts, points of interest (POIs), fuel prices, and details of potential on- and off-street parking – including price, location and availability. Online Voice Recognition lets users search for POIs, addresses, weather updates, or send text messages with voice commands. 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.
A new ‘Online Navigation’ routing service uses cloud-based real-time and historical traffic data to predict time-efficient routes more accurately than ever before.
Users can also access the accompanying UVO App, compatible with Android and Apple smartphones, which offers new ‘Phase II’ features such as Last Mile Navigation. This helps customers continue navigating to their destination after they have parked and left the car behind. It helps Kia customers navigate in towns and cities where parking hubs are often some distance away from shops, cafés and restaurants.
Ride and handling
Fun and easy to drive in town, comfortable and stable out on the open road
The Picanto combines high ride stability with quick, enjoyable handling responses, aided by independent MacPherson strut suspension at the front and a torsion beam rear axle. In addition, its relatively long wheelbase contributes to a natural improvement in ride quality and stability on all roads.
A quick steering rack enables immediate responses to driver inputs, while meaning fewer turns of the wheel from lock-to-lock than many rivals (2.8 turns), making the Picanto easy to drive at low speeds and in the city. The front wheels are pushed close to the front of the vehicle, resulting in low weight ahead of the front axle and more agile handling.
The Picanto offers torque vectoring by braking – an additional function of the Electronic Stability Control system (ESC; see ‘Safety’). The use of this new technology in an A-segment car means the Picanto retains a higher degree of handling stability and security under cornering, while helping to reduce understeer during harder cornering.
Wide range of new ADAS, safety and convenience technologies available
The upgraded Picanto features several of Kia’s latest Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), and a range of new active safety systems to enhance occupant safety, making it one of the safest cars in its class.
Depending on specification, the Picanto’s new ADAS range includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with vehicle and pedestrian detection. Additionally, the Picanto is available with Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), and Lane Following Assist (LFA).
LFA uses the front-facing camera and sensors to monitor road markings, controlling the Picanto’s steering to keep the car in the centre of its lane. The Picanto also features Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA) which alerts the driver and stops the vehicle if it detects another vehicle approaching from the left or right when reversing out of a parking space.
The Picanto is equipped with an Emergency Stop Signal (ESS), which automatically flashes the hazard warning lights to alert the car behind if the driver has to brake suddenly. Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) holds the car on the brake to ensure the car moves away smoothly from a hill start.
The updated Picanto is also equipped with Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), Torque Vectoring By Braking, Cornering Brake Control (CBC) and Straight-line Stability (SLS) systems as standard, helping drivers maintain control under braking and cornering.
The updated Picanto is fitted with up to seven airbags throughout the cabin, including a driver’s knee airbag, depending on specification and market. It also features ISOFIX child-seat tether and anchor points.
Production and sales
On sale: updated Picanto arrives in Europe in the third quarter of 2020
The updated Kia Picanto is manufactured in Korea and has been on-sale across Europe since the third quarter of 2020. All models offer the company’s unique 7-Year, 150,000 km warranty as standard.