Fresh from it’s debut at the 85th Salon International de l’Automobile in Geneva at the beginning of March this year, the enhanced Kia Picanto has arrived in South Africa. The Picanto was born from a simple idea: an affordable car should make no compromises on styling, features or technology. Indeed, all the characteristics that made the second-generation Kia Picanto a remarkable car in 2011 still apply today – proof that “small” and “affordable” is still an awesome combination.
Picanto combines sporty, elegant styling with a high quality interior, frugal and efficient engines and exceptional levels of standard equipment into a package that, four years later, remains at the forefront of style. Thanks to a small number of selected enhancements, Picanto can now also add a more premium look and feel to its arsenal, which underlines its notable value proposition.
While the two-model Picanto line-up remains unchanged, enhancements to the exterior endow it with a sharper, more prominent face, thanks to a restyled front bumper and a revised ‘tiger nose’ grille.
The new bumper features a flatter, more square design. The large, central air intake is now a single unit compared to the previous model flanked by two larger, more square fog lamp housings recessed into the corners of the bumper.
The lamps, positioned centrally within the housing, now function as DRLs (daytime running lights) and not as switchable fog lamps: when the vehicle is switched on, the lamps automatically illuminate.
The lower edge of the bumper also creates the impression of incorporating a front spoiler, which in combination with the flatter and more elongated chrome ‘tiger nose’ grille, contributes to the Picanto’s sportier visage.
The Picanto’s strongly-sculpted, dynamic side profile and uncluttered rear styling remains largely unchanged, bar for a slightly revised rear bumper that now incorporates a matte black lower edge that rises up at the sides to house revised rear fog lamps. The 1.0 LX ships with 14-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers, while the 1.2 EX features sporty 15-inch alloys.
Inside, the Picanto is very subtly tweaked to emphasise the already upmarket space, with changes limited to a more modern fascia surrounding the Picanto’s audio system. Standard features available on both models include manual air-conditioning, retractable dual cup holders and sun visors with vanity mirrors, as well as AUX/ iPod/ USB connections for the radio/ CD player with MP3 compatibility (the EX also sports steering wheel mounted controls and hands-free Bluetooth).
The 1.0 LX and 1.2 EX boasts driver and passenger airbags. ABS anti-lock braking is standard on the 1.2 EX, as is an ESS (Emergency Stop Signal) system. Sensors detect when the driver is braking suddenly and hard – and then flash the brake lights three times to alert motorists behind you the car is slowing rapidly. All models ship as standard with ISOFIX child seat anchors.
The Kia Picanto’s engine line-up remains unchanged, with two of Kia Motor Corporation’s efficient Kappa engines powering the Picanto.