THE all-new all-new Kia Picanto city car, 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 totaled more than 1.4 million since 2011, making it one of Kia’s best-selling models. The all-new Picanto goes on sale worldwide during Q2 2017, retaining the strengths of its predecessor, with a new level of dynamism and performance, enhanced safety and greater value for money.
Boasting an assertive new design and a high-quality, high-tech new cabin, the latest model offers buyers greater potential for customization and promises to be the most versatile car in its class. The new Picanto will be powered by one of two gasoline engines, resulting in low running costs, while its compact dimensions are ideal for city driving – the new model is no larger than its predecessor, yet offers more cabin and cargo space than ever before.
The all-new Kia Picanto will help Kia capture a greater share of sales in a segment that is among the most popular in almost every region of the world.
The all-new Picanto has been created by Kia’s design centers in Namyang, Korea and Frankfurt, Germany, collaborating to design a youthful, energetic looking car.
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 body lines.
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, emphasizing 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 the Picanto is no longer than the outgoing model, at 3,595 mm in length.
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 potential for customization than ever before, with a choice of 11 vibrant paint finishes designed to make the car stand out. Among the six new colors available to buyers are ‘Lime Light’, ‘Shiny Red’, ‘Aurora Black’, ‘Pop Orange’, ‘Sparkling Silver’ and ‘Celestial Blue’ pearlescent metallic paint finishes. The Picanto is fitted with 13-inch steel wheels in its most basic form, and customers can also select one of two aluminum alloy wheel designs, ranging from 14- to 15-inches in diameter. The exterior of the Picanto can also be specified with new projection headlamps with LED indicators and LED daytime running lights.
For the first time, Kia will also offer the Picanto in a new ‘GT-Line’ specification, depending on the market. The design of the GT-Line model is inspired by the sportier appearance of the company’s higher-performance ‘GT’ models, such as the Optima GT. The exterior is completed with red, silver and black highlights in the grille, side intakes, along the side skirts and in the rear valance, as well as chrome-tipped twin exhausts.
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 center 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.
Customization is key to the appeal of the new Picanto’s cabin. While black and grey cloth seats are available as standard, buyers can also personalize their new Picanto with one of five optional color packs, featuring contrast artificial leather upholstery and stitching. Available at launch, these color packs are:
High Gloss Black – a combination of black, grey and white upholstery with white stitching (and available with a black or grey base color)
Brown – brown seats with light blue flashes down the side and light blue stitching
Blue – navy and true blue artificial leather and cloth upholstery with white and orange stitching
Red – black and grey seats with red flashes and red stitching
Lime – grey and light grey upholstery with lime green stitching. — SG
The contrast colors of the seats can be matched with optional new color pads on the door armrests, and leather wrapping for the steering wheel and gearstick are available as options. Finally, the Picanto’s new GT-Line derivative will be equipped with a D-cut steering wheel. The interior of the GT-Line model will be available with the full range of color packs.
Despite its on-road footprint remaining the same as that of the outgoing model, the all-new Picanto will offer 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 head-room 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 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 center console is an open double-shelf tray to store mobile devices and other small items, with new retractable twin cupholders 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. 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 hair-style, or adjust their hat, scarf or tie.
The boot grows from 200 liters (VDA) to a maximum 255 liters – 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 liters. 60:40 split-folding seat backs are available.
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 new 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.
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 realize 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 center 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 optional 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.
The new Picanto is the first car in its class to offer buyers torque vectoring by braking – an additional function of the Electronic Stability Control system (ESC; see ‘Safety’). The adoption of this new technology for an A-segment car means the Picanto retains a higher degree of handling stability and security under cornering, while helping to reduce understeer during harder cornering.
Underpinning the all-new Picanto’s quicker, more responsive steering is a pair of highly efficient small-capacity gasoline 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-liter naturally-aspirated multi-point injection (MPI) gasoline engines are carried over from the outgoing Picanto, and feature a range of enhancements to improve efficiency and driveability. Both engines are paired with a five-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic transmission, delivering power to the front wheels.
The 1.0-liter 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 67 ps at 5,500 rpm 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-liter MPI engine produces peak power of 84 ps, 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 optimized 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-liter MPI engine. New low-friction coated piston rings also help to reduce cylinder friction for greater efficiency.
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.
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.
The large, ‘floating’ HMI at the center of the dashboard houses a 3.8-inch monochrome TFT LCD audio system, with clear buttons to control the system’s functions. Buyers can also specify an optional 7.0-inch full-color touchscreen infotainment offering a Bluetooth connection to smartphones to play music on the go. The 7.0-inch touchscreen HMI supports Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ for full smartphone integration. Auxiliary and USB ports are located at the base of the center console, ensuring drivers can play music directly from a smartphone or MP3 player, and keep mobile devices charged on the move.
Depending on specification, an optional rear-view parking assist system and a rear-view parking camera are also on offer to buyers who want an additional level of assurance when completing parking maneuvers.
Depending on market, other optional technologies to improve comfort and convenience include climate control air conditioning, cruise control, electrically-folding door mirrors, a sunroof and keyless entry and start.
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 meters of joins throughout the structure are now reinforced with the adhesive). Overall, static torsional stiffness has been improved by 32%.
The stronger, lighter body is supported by two front and four front side and curtain airbags. Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) ensures stability under braking and cornering, detecting a loss in traction and using ESC to help the driver keep the car on course. Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) are also available.
The all-new Kia Picanto is manufactured at Kia’s production facility. Maintaining the value for money and high quality that has made the current-generation Picanto so popular, the all-new Picanto will go on-sale across markets in Middle East and Latin America from the start of Q2 2017. — SG