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Kia’s Picanto is one of South Africa’s most popular compact hatchbacks.
The Korean brand has managed to make city cars desirable, locally, with a combination of quality engineering, disarmingly cute design and contemporary infotainment.
Kia has now revealed an updated version of its third-generation Picanto, launched globally in 2017. The most notable styling upgrade are headlamps with reshaped daytime running lights, framing a redesigned grille.
Picanto’s front bumper now borrows fog lights from the larger Kia Seltos crossover. Around the rear, new Picanto has a slightly reshaped bumper, with LED taillights and faux exhaust ends.
For those Picanto owners who wish to slightly individualise their cars, there are new alloy wheel designs and some contrasting side skirt garnishments.
Beyond the tasteful exterior design changes, new Picanto continues the Kia belief that compact car customers value quality infotainment and digitisation. As such, the Picanto sees an improved multi-information display between the instrument binnacle’s main dials, and a larger 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, taking pride of place, in the centre console.
The modernized Picanto is powered by three engine options. Kia’s 1-litre triple sees its peak power output raise from 49- to 56kW. The slightly larger 1.2-litre four-cylinder is good for 62kW.
Drivers who do most of their motoring at altitude, or wish to have more potent performance from the compact Kia, will have their interest piqued by the Picanto’s turbocharged 1-litre engine, which boosts 74kW.
All Picantos remain front-wheel drive, with a choice of four-speed automatic or five-speed manual gearboxes. Perhaps the most significant engineering updates concern safety. This new Picanto features rear cross-traffic alert, warning you of a pending collision when you are reversing out of a parking space.
There is also a lane-keep assistance function and blind-spot monitoring, both features which deliver greater traffic navigating confidence for inexperienced drivers, at highway speeds. By far its most powerful new safety feature, is automated emergency braking, which engages if there is inaction by the driver and a frontal crash is imminent.
Local availability of the updated Kia Picanto, is scheduled for the last quarter of 2020.
Feature image: Kia