The Kia Picanto is a city car manufactured and marketed by the South Korean car manufacturer Kia Motors since 2003. Now on its 3rd-generation model, the Kia Picanto still bears the same youthful and energetic qualities, yet more cabin space due to the 15 mm increase in its wheelbase. The tiger-nose grille is now extended all the way to the headlights, which pulls it closer to Kia's sportier models like the Rio and Forte. The headlights now look more aggressive and sharper than the previous generation's rounded shape.
History of the Kia Picanto
First Generation Kia Picanto (SA; 2003–2011)
The first generation Picanto was revealed at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show. Designed as a small-sized contender, the Picanto was the smallest vehicle offered by the Korean carmaker on many markets, under different names. Kia built it on the same platform as the Hyundai i10. Back in 2004, Kia was mostly known for its poorly designed vehicles, and the Picanto was no exception. But it was a form-follow-function concept, and it worked well. The high-mounted headlights above the bumper were protected against the small bumps in the parking lots, and the same went with the taillights, which were corner-mounted. While it couldn't win a design contest, it compensated with its smart design trend. The interior was also focused on what the customers need from a small city vehicle. It featured high-mounted bucket seats at the front and a folding bench in the back. Under the hood, Kia installed a choice of three engines, one of them being turbo-diesel. The other two sported small displacements of 1.0L and 1.1L, respectively. For specific markets, the Picanto was offered with automatic transmission for the upper trim levels.
Kia was on the verge of upgrading its vehicle lineup and, a year after the introduction of the cee'd, it refreshed the smallest family member, the Picanto. While it wasn't a spicy vehicle, it was small and able to squeeze through the city traffic. It benefited from the carmaker's experience in producing small cars for the Korean market, and thus the result was a fit-for-congestion vehicle. Regardless of the car's qualities, the design was far from appealing to European or U.S. customers. The refreshed version tried to correct some mistakes, and the car showed different headlights, swept back toward the top of the front fenders. Under the hood, Kia squeezed a choice of two engines: a 1.0L and a 1.1L engine. The carmaker added a 1.1L turbo-diesel engine for selected markets, but it was considered useless hence it didn't offer such a big fuel efficiency as expected.
Second Generation Kia Picanto (TA; 2011–2017)
3-Door Kia Picanto
The smallest and cheapest car in Kia's European model range is the Picanto 3-door. This is available in three trim levels: Base, Classic, and Comfort, also called 1, 2, and 3 in Britain. The advantages of the 3-door are that it costs a little bit less to buy in the first place, which makes it popular with buyers who only want to use the Picanto for their daily commute. The 3-door version is the same length as the 5-door model, but it sports new windows and doors and other small cosmetic changes that make it look sporty. In January 2013, the Picanto was named the most reliable car in the UK and the car is also relatively safe with a 4-star rating from Euro NCAP.
5-Door Kia Picanto
As Kia's smallest car for the global market, the Picanto plays the role of the city car in their European lineup, though it's also known as the Morning or K1 in Korea and some parts of Asia. Designed to appeal to a younger generation of buyers, the second generation model launched in 2011 is much better designed than its predecessor. The car was drawn by none other than Peter Schreyer, featuring elongated headlights and the now famous tiger-nose grille.
Third Generation Kia Picanto (JA; 2017–Present)
The third-generation Picanto made its official global debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. The new Picanto was equipped with a choice of three engines: the outgoing model's 1.0L Kappa II three-cylinder engine in the multi-point injected and turbocharged direct-injected versions and the 1.2L Kappa II four-cylinder engine. Both 1.0L engines were mated exclusively with a 5-speed manual transmission, while the 1.2L engine was also offered with an optional 4-speed automatic transmission. For the Malaysian market, the third-generation Picanto was launched in January 2018. For the Indonesian market, the third-generation Picanto went on sale in October 2019. It was powered by the 1.2L four-cylinder engine and offered in GT-Line and EX trim levels with either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission. The Picanto was discontinued in Indonesia in 2022.
In June 2020, Kia introduced a mid-life facelift. Featuring styling tweaks on the exterior, new technology, and powertrains. Exterior update on standard models includes restyled headlights and grille, whilst the GT-Line and X-Line trims were given restyled front and rear bumpers. The engine range has also been updated with revised fuel injection and engine management to improve fuel economy as well as a five-speed automatic gearbox to replace the older four-speed one.
For the 2023 model year, Kia retails the 2023 Kia Picanto with a starting manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of £13,400 ($16,450) for the base model, rising to £17,450 ($21,422) for the top-of-the-line variant.
Features of the Kia Picanto
Kia Picanto offered a happy image, far from any form of aggressiveness. The front fascia of both the "GT-Line" and "X-Line" Picanto models has been revised to give each car a more purposeful design. It started with the "tiger-nose" grille, which featured a new textured surround and open-link appearance. The chrome-effect surround formed a sweeping shape that extended into the lower part of the redesigned headlamps, giving a wider stance for the car.
Inside, the Picanto featured a series of visual and technological upgrades, centered around a bigger 8.0-inch widescreen infotainment system and a high-resolution 4.2-inch digital display in the instrument cluster. Depending on trim level and market, the Picanto's cabin was offered with black cloth or man-made leather seats. The cabin was finished with black, silver, or gloss black highlights on the door, on the dashboard, and around the gear selector.
Specs and Performance of the Kia Picanto
- 1.0 L Kappa II MPI I3
- 1.0 L Kappa II TCI MPI I3
- 1.0 L Kappa II T-GDI I3
- 1.0 L Smartstream G1.0 MPI I3
- 1.0 L Smartstream G1.0 T-GDI I3
- 1.2 L Smartstream G1.2 MPI I4
- 1.25 L Kappa II MPI I4
- 1.0 L Kappa LPI I3
The Kia Picanto maintains that comfortable yet stable ride all thanks to its front McPherson strut with stabilizer and coupled torsion beam axle for the rear. As mentioned, this subcompact hatchback has two engine options. For the LX trim, there's a 1.0L 3-cylinder gasoline engine, producing 66 hp and 95 Nm of torque. Moreover, there's also a larger 1.2L 4-cylinder gasoline engine reserved for the EX trims, respectively, it churns out a healthier 83 hp and 122 Nm of torque. Both of the said mills could either be paired with a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic. Power is then sent to the front wheels. Kia Picanto accelerates from 0 to 60 mph (0–97 kph) in 14.1 seconds with a top speed of 101 mph (163 kph). Dimension-wise, the Kia Picanto measures 3,595 mm (141.5 in) long, 1,595 mm (62.8 in) wide, and 1,485 mm (58.5 in) high. Its wheelbase measures 2,400 mm (94.5 in) and has a curb weight of 2,330 lbs (1,057 kg).
Kia Picanto is a city car that has been produced by Kia, a South Korean car manufacturer, since 2003. Currently, the model is in its third generation model for the 2023 model year.