Currently reading: 2023 Kia Picanto brings bold new look and tech upgrade
City car gets EV9-aping ‘tiger nose’ grille and over-the-air updates; is expected to tip over £15,000

The new 2023 Kia Picanto has been officially revealed, sporting a radical redesign inside and out in a bid to sustain its appeal and strong sales figures. 

Redesigned with a particular focus on young professionals and short, urban commutes, the new Picanto promises to be easier to drive than before, with more standard equipment, over-the-air update functionality and new technology that's said to make it "one of the safest cars in its class".

Its bold exterior redesign is inspired by Kia's new Opposites United design philosophy, which has driven the design language of models such as the EV9 and EV6.

Kia's signature Tiger Nose front grille features on the city car for the first time, along with optional LED headlights and a rear light bar to give it a wider stance - enhanced by a 12mm-wider track width at both ends.

Two trim levels are available. The standard car has either 14in or 15in alloys as standard and gains a new optional 16in design. The GT-Line car is marked out by a hot-hatch-inspired styling makeover, recessed bumpers and more equipment.

Four new paint colours have been added to the palette for 2023, too. 

Kia picanto rear three quarter

The current Picanto starts at £13,665, but it's highly likely the upgrades will nudge the facelifted model past the £15,000 threshold, as is the case for its closely related Hyundai i10 sibling - itself recently recipient of similar upgrades.

If confirmed, that will leave just four cars on sale in the UK for less than £15,000: the Citroën C3, Dacia Sandero, Fiat Panda and MG 3

Both trim levels are available with either a 1.0-litre three-cylinder or 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. Both are naturally aspirated and have been updated to improve exhaust-gas recirculation and reduce emissions. 

Both engines are available with a five-speed automatic gearbox or a five-speed automated manual – a conventional manual transmission equipped with automatic actuation of the clutch and gears.

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Inside, the Picanto's infotainment system has been thoroughly overhauled, with an optional 8.0in 'floating' touchscreen or a 4.2in LCD display fitted as standard.

The larger system brings Bluetooth compatibility that can pair two devices at the same time, as well as Kia Connect, which provides services such as live traffic updates, weather forecast and details of potential on- and off-street parking spots. 

Kia picanto interior

The system also allows owners to use an app to pre-load their sat-nav with route directions before getting into the car and can receive over-the-air updates for the infotainment and sat-nav system. 

The new interior design was "inspired by nature" and offers a choice of two colour packs: Adventurous Green and Rich Brown.

Both specifications are available with faux-leather upholstery as part of Kia's drive to become more sustainable. Starting with the EV9, Kia will begin to phase out leather in all of its models.

Cargo space remains the same at 255 litres with the seats in place, making the boot larger than that of the Volkswagen Up and Mini hatch. With the seats folded, it stretches to 1010 litres, still larger than in the equivalent Volkswagen or Mini.

As far as safety is concerned, the Picanto gets the same torque vectoring by braking system as before, said to make it easier to control in both normal and high-demand situations.

Jonathan Bryce

Jonathan Bryce
Title: Editorial Apprentice

Jonathan is an editorial assitant working with Autocar. He has held this position since March 2024, having previously studied at the University of Glasgow before moving to London to become an editorial apprentice and pursue a career in motoring journalism. 

His role at work involves writing news stories, travelling to launch events and interviewing some of the industry's most influential executives, rewriting used car reviews and used car advice articles, updating and uploading articles for the Autocar website and making sure they are optimised for search engines, and regularly appearing on Autocar's social media channels including Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

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artill 4 July 2023

Of course its a good thing that there will continue to be small cars available, but did it have to look so challenging? Its sad that it will become so expensive too. It wasnt that long ago £15k got you something decent.

As for aiming it at young professional, what about all the OAPs that currently seem to drive all of these? Are they not a trendy enough market?

Autocar, can you double check the transmission options too. 2 auto boxes, and no manual? Are you sure?

sadjad_ahmadi 4 July 2023

Yep, can get away with this design on a bigger model but on the smaller models look wrong!

LP in Brighton 4 July 2023

It doesn't look that radical to me, unless the full width lighting array counts. 

Also I assume that one of the transmission options is a 5-speed manual; it doesn't make sense to be offering two types of automatic in this type of car. 

Pity they couldn't have improved the price a bit instead of this needless tinkering!    

Andrew1 4 July 2023
Bold as in they had balls to release something so ugly?