Five years has passed since the current Kia Picanto has been on the market, and with a facelifted version already introduced early last year, it’s only a matter of time before there’s a new one. Kia has revealed the first teaser sketches of the third-generation city car, which will be unveiled in early 2017.
The new car certainly looks more mature, ditching the cheeky styling of the outgoing TA with a stronger, more assertive aesthetic clearly inspired by the new Rio. At the front, there are U-shaped LED daytime running lights that are now a solid strip rather than its predecessor’s individual diodes, while the upper grille has grown wider to meet the headlights. The downturned lower grille also gives a more aggressive look.
Down the sides, the previously straight window line is now upswept at the front and rear, while the reduced character lines provide a more minimalist look; the wheel arches have also been emphasised to give the illusion of a stronger stance. The rear design is more angular as well.
Kia says that the Picanto’s new design will lend better to customisation options than before, and the sketches certainly bear that out, with red accents on the upper grille, front bumper, side skirts and rear diffuser. The dual tailpipes have been carried over from the Sport Pack offered on the current car.
The interior, meanwhile, has been made noticeably more upscale than the one in the TA, which was already several steps above the A-segment norm. There’s now a dual-tier dashboard with the floating head unit from the Rio sitting above the twin centre air vents, while the corner air vents are now vertical and in an unusual lozenge shape, giving the cabin a quirky spin on things.
The current two-spoke steering wheel with a grin-like decorative trim piece has also been switched out for a three spoke item from the Optima. Below, the climate control switchgear has gained a concave shape, while an armrest with a storage console makes a welcome appearance between the seats. Here, too, there appear to be avenues for customisation, such as door trims with lime green accents.
As for the mechanicals, the Picanto should retain the current 1.0 litre three-cylinder and 1.2 litre four-cylinder naturally-aspirated Kappa II engines, as well as a 1.0 litre three-pot Kappa TCI turbo. The existing four-speed automatic, five-speed manual and CVT transmissions should also be carried over.