The all-new KIA Picanto, now in its third-generation, brings a new, more youthful and energetic character to the A-segment. Global sales of the current-generation Picanto have totalled more than 1,4 million since 2011, making it one of KIA’s best-selling models. Retaining the strengths of its predecessor, with a new level of dynamism and performance, enhanced safety and greater value for money, the all-new Picanto is now available in South Africa.
Boasting an assertive new design and a high-quality, high-tech new cabin, the latest model promises to be the most versatile car in its class thanks to its low running costs and compact dimensions. While the new model is no larger than its predecessor, it’s ideal for city driving – yet offers more cabin and cargo space than ever before.
“We can’t be more excited about the launch of the all-new Picanto,” says David Sieff, Marketing Director, KIA Motors South Africa. “It’s a similar feeling to when we launched the previous generation model in 2011 – the excitement is palpable, driven largely by the car’s fantastic styling, it’s sheer quality and the high specification levels. We can not wait to introduce it to market!”
A bold new face
The all-new Picanto benefits from a global approach to car design and has seen KIA’s design centres in Namyang, Korea and Frankfurt, Germany, collaborating to design a car that is more youthful and energetic than ever before. Briefed to produce an innovative, bold and fun urban city car, designers have followed up on the mandate to full effect, giving the new Picanto a more assertive stance with bolder bodylines.
With the wheelbase extended to 2,400 mm (an increase of 15 mm), the wheels have been pushed further out to the corners for a 25 mm shorter front overhang, making the car look more planted on the road. Strong, straight lines run horizontally across the front of the car, emphasising the ‘tiger-nose’ grille and angular new wrap-around headlamps. Vertical lines that encompass the side intakes and lower grille enhance the Picanto’s more confident new ‘face’.
In profile, the new Picanto is characterized by distinctive lines running along the side skirts, shoulder and around the wheel arches, and subtly-sculpted body surfacing – again, each helping to create a more confident on-road design and visually ‘stretching’ the car for a greater sense of ride stability – although, at 3,595 mm in length, the Picanto is no longer than the outgoing model.
The new model adopts KIA’s wide C-pillar as a design motif, which stands more upright than that of the previous model, and combines with a longer rear overhang – up 10 mm, to 520 mm – to create a more assured posture.
The all-new Picanto offers buyers greater scope to express their personalities, with a choice of 11 vibrant paint finishes designed to make the car stand out. Among the six new colours available to buyers is ‘Lime Light’, ‘Shiny Red’, ‘Aurora Black’, ‘Pop Orange’, ‘Sparkling Silver’ and ‘Celestial Blue’ pearlescent metallic paint finishes. Depending on the model, the Picanto is fitted with either 13- or 14-inch steel wheels with stylish wheel covers, or a choice of 14- and 15-inch aluminium alloy wheel designs. High specification models of the all-new Picanto also feature new projection headlamps with LED indicators and LED daytime running lights.
An outstanding new interior
Inside the new Picanto, KIA designers have created a more modern, refined cabin than the second-generation model, with new materials and layout adding a greater sense of quality for occupants. The predominantly horizontal, wide-looking design adds greater visual width to the interior, highlighting the increased cabin dimensions.
The dashboard layout is now more centrally aligned, with a large ‘floating’ HMI (human-machine interface) sitting at the heart of the centre console and moving many of the car’s controls further up into the driver’s line of sight. A satin chrome-effect strip runs across the dashboard for a higher quality ambience, and large, vertical air vents on both sides ‘bookend’ the front passenger compartment.
Black cloth-upholstered seats are available as standard, while high specification models are fitted as standard with two-tone black and grey leather upholstery.
Fun, yet practical
Despite its on-road footprint remaining the same as that of the outgoing model, the all-new Picanto offers buyers high levels of packaging efficiency, with maximum versatility resulting from its larger cabin and class-leading boot capacity.
The Picanto meets the increasing trend towards five-door models in the A-segment. Offering maximum practicality, the new model is no larger than the model it replaces, at 1,485 mm in height, 3,595 mm long and 1,595 mm wide. The new platform boasts a longer wheelbase and longer rear overhang, however, freeing up more space in the cabin and boot (the front overhang is reduced by 25 mm, to 675 mm).
Inside, the new Picanto provides occupants with more leg- and headroom than best-selling rivals in the A-segment, while a lower step height makes for easier ingress and egress. The base of the dashboard has been moved upwards by 15 mm for greater knee and leg space for front passengers.
The new central armrest for front passengers (high specification models only) can slide back and forth up to 55 mm – a first in the class – and covers a small storage compartment designed to accommodate a sunglasses case. At the base of the centre console is an open double-shelf tray to store mobile devices and other small items, with new retractable twin cup holders, which can fold away to yield more storage space.
Beneath the sun visors in the front of the cabin, an optional new vanity mirror also features bright LED lights and a strip of mood lighting (high specification models only). By providing the surrounding glow of a make-up room mirror, the Picanto’s new vanity mirror makes it easier for occupants to apply make-up, check their hairstyle, or adjust their hat, scarf or tie.
The boot grows from 200 litres (VDA) to a maximum 255 litres – the most of any car in the class – and is available with a two-step boot floor, which can be raised or lowered by 145 mm to create additional space as required, as well as create an under-floor storage area. The rear seat bench can be folded down with a one-touch lever for maximum ease of use, boosting cargo capacity to 1,010 litres. 60:40 split rear-folding seat backs are a standard feature on all Picanto models.
Comfort levels are also improved. Where the seats in many A-segment rivals provide one-piece backrests with integrated headrests, the new Picanto gives buyers independent front seat headrests, which can be moved up and down. The Picanto’s new seats are also more comfortable for longer journeys, featuring the same seat-base materials and construction found in larger KIA models such as the Optima. In the rear, the angle of the backrest is more reclined – from 25 to 27 degrees – for a more relaxed posture, and slightly more prominent side bolsters on the rear bench further improve comfort and support during faster cornering.
Confidence comes standard
The outgoing KIA Picanto won plaudits for its combination of immediate handling responses and a comfortable ride. Engineers have emulated these characteristics in the new model, while making a series of modifications to the suspension – independent by MacPherson strut at the front; torsion beam at the rear – to realise greater ride stability and quicker, more enjoyable handling responses.
Designed to reduce the body roll angle under cornering by up to 1° and enable more immediate reactions to steering inputs, the Picanto’s anti-roll bars are 2% stiffer and mounted slightly lower at the front, and 5% stiffer and slightly higher at the rear. The Picanto’s revised dimensions – with a longer wheelbase and slightly shorter front overhang – also enable the pitch centre of the car to be placed further towards the rear of the car, helping to naturally reduce ‘nose dive’ under braking without firming up the suspension and potentially compromising ride comfort.
In addition, the longer wheelbase contributes to a natural improvement in ride quality and stability on all roads. The torsion beam rear axle has been reshaped and features newly designed trailing arms, helping to reduce weight by 1.8 kg over the rear axle with no loss in component rigidity.
A new rack for the column-mounted motor-driven power steering means the steering ratio has been quickened by 13% over the outgoing Picanto, from 16.5:1 to 14.3:1. Not only does this enable more immediate responses to driver inputs, but reducing the turns of the wheel lock-to-lock (from 3.4 to 2.8 turns) makes the Picanto even easier to drive at low speeds and in the city. With the front wheel pushed closer to the front of the vehicle, resulting in a shorter overhang, the reduced weight ahead of the front axle reduces inertia for more agile handling.
Refinement has been dramatically improved in the new Picanto, with a range of modifications designed to further isolate the cabin from vibrations and noise from the road, wind and the engine. The result is a car that offers one of the quietest cabins of any A-segment model, both at idle and at a steady cruise.
New refinement measures adopted for the latest Picanto include a new soundproofing panel beneath the dashboard and in the floor of the cabin, while expandable sound-absorbent foam has been applied to lower sections of the A- and B-pillars. Beneath the bonnet reshaped air intake helps to isolate engine noise from the cabin. The structure of the engine mounts has also been revised to counteract engine vibrations. Furthermore, the windscreen wipers have been lowered by 6 mm to reduce the level of wind ‘roar’ generated at the base of the windscreen
As a result of these upgrades, the new Picanto produces a quietest-in-class 39 dB of noise at idle – 3 dB less than the current A-segment leader – and 68 dB at a steady cruise.
Keeping you connected and in control
Buyers of the new KIA Picanto will have access to some of the most advanced infotainment and convenience technologies available in the A-segment, while still enjoying the same high value for money expected of a KIA vehicle.
In lower specification models, the large, ‘floating’ HMI at the centre of the dashboard houses a 3,8-inch monochrome TFT LCD audio system, with clear buttons to control the system’s functions.
High specification models feature a 7,0-inch full-colour touchscreen infotainment system offering a Bluetooth connection to smartphones to play music on the go. The 7,0-inch touchscreen HMI system also supports Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ for full smartphone integration*.
These systems offer not only a convenience benefit to users, but also a significant safety benefit in that it curbs the growing hazard of distracted driving. In both instances, only the most important Apps (such as telephony functions, messaging, music and maps) are available to use while the vehicle is in operation. As vehicles featuring Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ is also equipped with Bluetooth incorporating Voice Recognition, drivers can use these Apps through voice control, meaning your hands never have to leave the steering wheel, and your eyes never leave the road.
Auxiliary and USB ports are located at the base of the centre console, ensuring drivers can play music directly from a smartphone or MP3 player, and keep mobile devices charged on the move.
High specification models also feature a rear-view parking assist system, incorporating a rear-view parking camera with dynamic guidelines, as well as electrically folding, and heated side door mirrors. A sunroof is available as an option on high specification models.
The new Picanto is the safest A-segment car KIA has ever made, featuring double the proportion of Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) compared to the outgoing model and a selection of active safety technologies.
With a stronger body than ever before, 44% of the new Picanto’s bodyshell is cast in AHSS (up from 22%), while improving tensile strength by 12%. The new, stronger steel has been used to reinforce the floor pan, roof rails and engine bay, as well as the A- and B-pillars, strengthening the core structure of the car. The new bodyshell also uses more than eight times the quantity of structural adhesive found in the outgoing model (67 metres of joins throughout the structure are now reinforced with the adhesive). Overall, static torsional stiffness has been improved by 32%.
All models bar the entry-level models are equipped with an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), as well as a driver and passenger airbag. All models are fitted as standard with ISOFIX child seat anchors.
Underpinning the all-new Picanto’s quicker, more responsive steering is a pair of highly efficient small-capacity petrol engines. With a focus on minimizing the weight over the front axle, the engine line-up also delivers the sprightly acceleration and immediate powertrain responses that customers expect of an urban car.
1.0- and 1.25-litre naturally aspirated multi-point injection (MPI) petrol engines are carried over from the outgoing Picanto, but feature a range of enhancements to improve efficiency, driveability and overall responsiveness. Both engines are paired with a five-speed manual transmission delivering power to the front wheels. Some models are also available with an optional four-speed automatic transmission.
The 1.0-litre MPI engine is the most fuel-efficient engine available to Picanto buyers, and provides the entry point into the Picanto range. The three-cylinder engine produces 49 kW at 5 500 r/min and 96 Nm torque. Upgrades to the engine include a new exhaust manifold integrated into the cylinder head, and a new cooling system with shut-off valve, reducing the time it takes the engine to warm-up from a cold start. A new two-stage oil pump also reduces mechanical friction.
The four-cylinder 1.25-litre MPI engine produces peak power of 61 kW, and 122 Nm of torque, and ensures high levels of fuel efficiency to keep running costs low. For its application in the new Picanto, KIA engineers have optimised the valve timing of the engine’s dual CVVT (continuously-variable valve timing) system, and have also adopted a similar new cooling system and shut-off valve to the 1.0-litre MPI engine. New low-friction coated piston rings also help to reduce cylinder friction for greater efficiency.
Expanded range for greater choice
Building on the success of the four-model line-up in the outgoing, second-generation Picanto, KIA Motors South Africa is expanding the local Picanto line-up to include know less than eight standalone models, covering the two petrol engines on offer over four specification grades.
At the entry level, the KIA Picanto START models feature the same high levels of standard specification that KIA has become known for, including manual air-conditioning, tilt-adjustable steering, a radio with RDS and MP3 capability, Aux and USB connector jacks, Bluetooth connectivity and two speakers, to name but a few.
Moving up in the line-up, the KIA Picanto STREET models build on the standard specification of the START models by adding electric front windows, steering wheel-mounted audio remote controls, remote central locking with an alarm and immobilizer, as well as driver’s seat height adjustment.
KIA Picanto STYLE models sees the STREET specification extended with the addition of front projection fog lamps, daytime running lights, automatic light control, a rear window wiper and front seat back pockets.
Top of the range Picanto SMART models also gain bi-function projection headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED rear combination lights, electrically-folding, heated side mirrors with integrated LED indicator lamps, aluminium pedals, two-tone cloth and leather upholstery, a leather-upholstered steering wheel and gear knob, the 7-inch full colour infotainment system, Bluetooth with Voice Recognition and a Rear Park Distance Control system with integrated Reverse Camera with dynamic guidelines.
Despite the all-new KIA Picanto representing a huge step forward for KIA in its quest to provide customers with a fun, funky, high-quality city car, KIA is launching the new Picanto range at price points that are virtually unchanged from the outgoing models.
Picanto 1.0 START Manual R 134,995
Picanto 1.0 STREET Manual R 149,995
Picanto 1.0 STYLE Manual R 159,995
Picanto 1.0 STYLE Auto R 172,995
Picanto 1.0 SMART Manual R 179,995
Picanto 1.2 START Manual R 150,995
Picanto 1.2 START Auto R 163,995
Picanto 1.2 STREET Manual R 165,995
Picanto 1.2 STYLE Manual R 175,995
Picanto 1.2 STYLE Auto R 188,995
Picanto 1.2 SMART Manual R 195,995
A sunroof is available as an option on the SMART models for an additional R8,500. Adding even further value to the KIA Picanto package is KIA’s class-leading 5-year / Unlimited Kilometre Warranty, inclusive of 3-years / Unlimited Kilometres Roadside Assistance, as standard. A service is available as an option through KIA Financial Services.
“The obvious choice in the A-segment just became the only choice,” says Stephen Crosse, Sales Director, KIA Motors South Africa. “From START to SMART, there is a model for every pocket and every need, with enhanced value throughout the range.
“The START models, as an example, adds Bluetooth, an Aux and USB port and a factory-fitted radio to the mix when compared to the previous generation specification, and does so at almost the same price,” he adds. “Similarly, STREET models will be market winners with ABS and driver and passenger airbags. If you’re shopping in the sub-R150,000 segment, you need not look any further.”