With the 2018 FIFA World Cup well underway, and Kia being one of the official sponsors of the football tournament, Kia Malaysia looks set to introduce a new variant for the Picanto called the ‘World Cup Edition 2018’. It is essentially a higher-spec version of the A-segment hatchback fitted with the X-Line get-up that we first saw in Frankfurt last year.

Inspired by the company’s crossover and SUV models, the Picanto X-Line sports a new bumper at the front which features repositioned fog lamps, larger corner “inlets,” and a small intake just below the signature “tiger nose” grille. There’s also a generous application of lime green highlights to go along with the sole colour option – Titanium Silver.

Progressing down the vehicle’s sides, you’ll find black plastic cladding fitted to reinforce the crossover inspiration, along with a rear “skid plate.” The Picanto X-Line also gets a set of 16-inch alloy wheels (with 195/45 profile tyres) rather than the 1.2 EX’s 14-inch units.

Aside from the aesthetic gains, the Picanto X-Line also comes with an improved kit list. The most significant additions are in the safety department, with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) being present. The former has been featured previously in photos brochure of what is purportedly the updated Picanto line-up that includes a new base KX and high-spec GT Line.

These join existing items like six airbags, anti-lock braking system (ABS), brake assist system (BAS), electronic stability control (ESC), traction control and hill-start assist.

That’s not all because the interior comes equipped with a flat-bottom steering wheel (also found on the GT Line trim) and a single-zone automatic air-conditioning system. The latter, along with leather seats, are an upgrade from what you’ll find in the 1.2 EX. Another notable addition here is the tilt/slide powered sunroof.

Mechanically, the car remains unchanged from the 1.2 EX variant currently on sale, with a 1.2 litre Kappa II naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine making 84 PS at 6,000 rpm and 122 Nm at 4,000 rpm. Similarly, there’s still a four-speed automatic transmission with drive going to the front wheels.

For now, prices have yet to be announced but expect the Picanto World Cup Edition 2018 to cost more than the 1.2 EX, which starts at RM47,079 sans GST. Interested?