Set to make its debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, more images of the all-new, third-generation Kia Picanto have been unveiled ahead of its Swiss showing in March. What’s known as the Art Collection variant in its native Korea goes by the GT-Line moniker elsewhere, and the range-topping trim level has been confirmed for the European market.
For Europe, the third-generation Picanto is set to sport the nameplate’s most powerful variant yet, courtesy of a 1.0 litre, turbocharged T-GDI direct injection petrol engine, which endows the A-segment hatchback with 100 PS and 172 Nm of torque.
The turbocharged, direct-injection mill is one of three petrol engines, the others being a 1.0 litre MPI unit producing 67 PS and 96 Nm of torque and a 1.25 litre MPI engine producing 84 PS and 122 Nm of torque. In terms of CO2 emissions, the 1.0 litre unit is rated at 89 g/km, with the 1.25 litre unit rated at 104 g/km, an improvement from the 95 g/km and 106 g/km seen on their respective predecessors.
Upgrades to the entry-level, naturally-aspirated 1.0 litre engine include a new exhaust manifold integrated into the cylinder head, while a new cooling system with a shut-off valve helps reduce warm-up times from cold starts. Elsewhere, a new two-stage oil pump helps reduce mechanical friction, according to Kia.
The 1.25 litre engine in the new Picanto also receives similar upgrades, with the optimising of the CVVT (continuously variable valve timing) for this engine in addition to the cooling system and shut-off valve also adopted from the new 1.0 engine. New, low-friction coated piston rings also aid the reducing of friction for improved efficiency, says the automaker.
The range-topping, 1.0 litre T-GDI turbocharged engine features an integrated exhaust manifold, a high-pressure, 200 bar fuel supply, along with laser-drilled fuel injectors for precise fuel delivery towards more controlled combustion, for improved accelerative response and efficiency, says Kia. All three powerplants are mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, with a four-speed auto being an option for the 1.25 litre variant.
Inside, refinement measures abound – the new Picanto gains a new soundproofing panel beneath the dashboard and in the cabin floor, while expandable, sound-absorbing foam has also been applied to the lower sections of its A- and B-pillars.
A new sound-absorbing engine cover resides beneath the bonnet, and along with the reshaped air intake, helps isolate engine noise from the cabin; the Picanto’s engine mounts have also been revised to better counteract vibrations. Just beyond the hood, the Picanto’s windscreen wipers have been lowered by six millimetres for less wind noise at the base of the windscreen.
As detailed before, the Picanto is built upon an all-new platform for the marque’s small cars, and gains a 44% composition of Advanced High Strength Steel (up from 22%) for a tensile strength improvement of 12%, while the body-in-white is lighter by 23 kg. The floor pan, roof rails and engine bay, along with its A- and B-pillars, feature the use of AHSS.
The stiffer bodyshell gives a stronger foundation from which the suspension can work from, and so the Picanto now sports front anti-roll bars which are two percent stiffer and mounted slightly lower in front; at the rear, the anti-roll bars are five percent stiffer and mounted slightly higher.
The new Picanto’s longer wheelbase and shorter front overhang also repositions its pitch centre slightly rearwards, for a reduction in nose dive under braking without a potentially ride-compromising firmer suspension rate. The rear torsion beam axle has been reshaped and new-design trailing arms collectively offer a 1.8 kg saving, without loss of rigidity, says Kia.
For greater agility, a new steering rack is now 13% quicker than before, its new ratio now 14.3:1 from the previous model’s 16.5:1. Steering wheel turns are now reduced to 2.8 turns lock-to-lock from 3.4 turn previously, while the front axle has less weight ahead of it for less inertia.
Infotainment come courtesy of a 7.0-inch “floating” touchscreen, which interfaces Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for mobile device integration. Optionally, a reverse camera with dynamic guide lines can be specified, along with a wireless smartphone charger and USB port.
The Picanto’s boot grows from 200 litres of capacity previously to 255 litres, along with offering a two-step boot floor, which can be raised or lowered 145 mm for either additional storage space or for an under-floor storage area. With a one-touch lever, the 60:40 split-folding rear seats fold flat to liberate a total capacity of 1,100 litres.
Safety features on the third-generation Picanto include six airbags (front, front side and curtain airbags), and an optional knee airbag, while active safety features include electronic stability control and a tyre pressure monitoring system. The Picanto also comes with autonomous emergency braking for added safety in urban surroundings.