This is the third-generation Kia Picanto as the Korean car-maker would doubtless prefer you first laid eyes on it: in new upper-trim-level ‘GT Line’ form, complete with 16in alloy wheels, sports body styling, bi-xenon headlights and plenty of other ritzy features.
Unlike six years ago, Kia's city car now has the classy VW Up, the striking Toyota Aygo and the quirky Suzuki Ignis to contend with. With style-conscious twenty-something buyers to lure, it may well need these more impactful looks in order to hold its own.
The Picanto is available in five trim levels, starting at ‘1’, progressing through ‘2’ and ‘3’. Entry-level models get 14in steel wheels, electric front windows, and a 3.8in one-colour LCD stereo system, while the step-up '2' includes 14in alloys, electrically adjustable heated mirrors, a leather steering wheel, manual air conditioning, electric windows front and rear and bluetooth connectivity.
All '3' spec cars upgrade to 15in alloy wheels, gain front fog lights, folding electric mirrors with integrated indicator lights, climate control, cruise control, 7in touchscreen sat-nav and six speaker stereo.
The range culminates in the ‘GT Line’ trim you see here, and the slightly better equipped ‘GT Line S’ specification. The latter gains a 7in infotainment system, wireless charger for your smartphone, heated front seats, rear parking sensors and an electronic sunroof over the GT Line styling kit, which adds extended front and rear valances and side sills to the standard Picanto’s already-relatively-pumped-up form, as well as exterior trim finishers for the grilles and sills that can be had in red, satin chrome or black. Chromed twin exhaust tips also feature.
As with the cheaper 1.0-litre version, this new Picanto is based on a widely overhauled body-in-white that’s longer in the wheelbase and shorter in the front overhang than the last version was – as well as 40 percent torsionally stiffer and 21kg lighter. Stiffer anti-roll bars, re-tuned springs and dampers, an all-new torsion beam rear suspension system and a quicker steering rack are key parts of the chassis overhaul.
Going for the 1.2-litre engine instead of the entry-level 1.0-litre means paying a £500 premium on the list price, though it’ll make little difference to what your Picanto will cost to own otherwise. Peak power jumps from 66- to 83bhp and torque from 71- to 90lb ft. The latter benefits from a significantly more linear torque curve than the cheaper three-cylinder motor, and also allows Kia to fit gear ratios for the 1.2 that are around seven per cent taller than those of the 1.0.