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Picanto update reveals EV design details

Can there be something like a premium A-segment car? Good question. But if a city could be considered premium, it would probably be Kia’s Picanto.

The third-generation Picanto has been available in South Africa since 2017. Picanto has become the default choice for first-time buyers who want a sophisticated driving experience or retirees desiring to scale down.

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Kia has revealed a mild redesign for its third-generation Picanto. And it’s not a subtle rework of the small Korean car’s exterior detailing. Daring design has been a feature of Kias, since former Audi creative master, Peter Schreyer, joined the brand in 2006, dramatically improving its design language.

Picanto’s exterior design updates are all applied to make the supermini appear larger than it is. There’s a unitary horizontal lightbar connecting the taillights. And up front, a new grille and headlamps echo design themes first seen on Kia’s latest-generation EVs. There is even a faux rear diffuser, on the GT-Line derivative.

Kia will offer a selection of wheel sizes with new Picanto, from 14- to 16-inches, with a very ornate alloy option in the 16-inch format.

Picanto prioritises tech

Beyond the boldly redesigned exterior details, there are infotainment upgrades inside, too. The 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system will become standardised across all trim variants. There are Kia Connect on-board services, too, which live traffic information and parking intelligence, voice recognition, last-mile navigation, and over-the-air update capability.

There’s been a global rationalisation for Kia’s supermini powertrain diversity. Gone is the 1-litre turbopetrol, the most potent engine Kia offered in Picanto, but never available in South Africa. Powertrain options for South African Picantos will continue unchanged, offering 1- and 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol engines.

Kia’s taken a sensible approach with Picanto’s gearbox options, too. It configures with a five-speed manual gearbox. Kia’s engineers are validly considering a sixth gear superfluous for any city car. If you prefer to let technology do the shifting for you, there is an automated manual version of the five-speed, too, which should be an upgrade from the current Picanto’s four-speed automatic.

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