As you’d expect, the Picanto’s engine range is based around frugal petrol engines. Both the current options – a three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol with 66bhp and 71lb/ft of torque and a four-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol with 83bhp – are carried over to this new car, but joining the range is a new turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol. With 99bhp, it’s the most powerful option in the range, and can propel the Picanto to 60mph in 10.1sec. It’s likely to also be the most economical option, although official MPG and CO2 figures have yet to be revealed.
The default gearbox choice is a five-speed manual, but a four-speed automatic is available as an option on the 1.25-litre petrol.
The Picanto’s brakes, steering and engine refinement have left us cold in the past, with the car far more ideally suited to tight urban streets than wider country roads or motorways. Kia claims to have addressed this with more soundproofing materials applied throughout to reduce engine vibrations and noise, and lowering the windscreen wipers by 6mm to eliminate wind noise at speed.
Kia says it has also improved the Picanto’s ride and handling through the use of modified suspension and a revised steering rack, both of which are said to give the new car ‘agile’ driving dynamics. Torque vectoring by braking also features for the first time, helping to reduce understeer during hard cornering.
Although the addition of sporty GT-Line models and the new turbocharged 1.0-litre engine would seem to leave the door open for a fully fledged performance version of the new Picanto, Kia officials say no such car is planned, as the company is instead putting its hot hatch ambitions into the new Rio GT, which is due in 2018.
The new Picanto’s cabin is dominated by a new 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system, which will be standard-fit in the UK. Drivers will be able to control their smartphones using the Apple Carplay and Android Auto services, while the options list includes a reversing camera, wireless smartphone charger and USB port.
When it comes to luggage space, the Picanto’s boot can now carry up to 255 litres – more than Hyundai’s i10 – and up to 1010 litres with the rear seats folded flat.
While exact specifications for the UK have yet to be confirmed, we do know the Picanto will be offered in 1,2, and 3 trim levels, plus the new GT-Line and GT-Line S specifications.
Personalisation also plays a big part in the new Picanto. Drivers will be able to specify one of five so-called ‘colour packs’ in the UK, allowing them to choose colours for the seats and stitching, as well as interior door panels.