Kia Motors happens to be South Korea's second-largest automobile manufacturer after Hyundai Motor Company which also owns Kia. The company has now revealed the details of its upcoming new-generation Picanto, which sits at the starting point of the brand's widespread portfolio. The third-generation Kia Picanto has gone through a design makeover along with updates in the cabin. It also features the new turbocharged 1.0-litre GDI motor that debuted in the international-spec Hyundai Grand i10. The third-generation Kia Picanto will debut at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show.
The new-gen Kia Picanto has been designed at the company's design centres in Namyang, Korea and Frankfurt, Germany. It gets a far more sportier and premium design compared to the previous model. This can be seen with the bolder treatment of the front profile. The hatch gets a new 'tiger-nose' grille and angular wrap-around headlamps. It gets new projector headlamps with LED indicators and LED daytime running lights (DRLs).
The front bumper has gone through a major style revision and also comes with repositioned fog lamps. The overall silhouette of the Picanto has been retained in the new model as well, although the wheelbase has been increased by 15mm. The length, however, remains unchanged at 3,595mm. This translates into a better cabin space. The hatchback gets a wider C-pillar compared to the previous iteration while the rear gets redesigned lights with LEDs.
Kia Motors will also be offering a spruced-up version of the Picanto under the GT-Line badge. This sportier-looking Picanto gets red, silver and black highlights on the grille, side intakes, along the side skirts and on the rear profile along with chrome-tipped twin exhausts.
The cabin of the 2017 Kia Picanto has been redesigned to make it more appealing than the previous iteration. While the earlier model sports the same design as we see on the Hyundai Grand i10 sold in India, the 2017 offering comes with more premium material and an upmarket design. The hatch now comes equipped with a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which has been positioned on the top of the dashboard. The system also offers navigation along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and a rear-view parking camera.
Powering the 2017 Kia Picanto will be three engine options. The 1.0-litre and 1.25-litre naturally-aspirated multi-point injection (MPI) engines have been carried over from the outgoing model. The company said that both these motors have been tweaked to deliver better efficiency and driveability. The highlight, however, will be the new 100PS/172Nm 1.0-litre T-GDI turbocharged petrol motor. All the engines will be paired with a 5-speed manual transmission.
With the use of modern manufacturing techniques, the new-gen Kia Picanto weighs 23kg less than the previous car, while at the same time the tensile strength of the body has been improved by 12 per cent. The company said that body shell uses more than eight times the quantity of structural adhesive found in the outgoing model, increasing the torsional stiffness by 32 per cent. It also comes equipped with autonomous emergency braking that alerts the driver as soon as their sensors spot a vehicle in its close vicinity. In addition, the 2017 Kia Picanto comes equipped with six airbags as standard.
It was already reported that Kia Motors was looking to set up a manufacturing facility in India with a production capacity of 300,000 cars, though there is no official confirmation on the same. Additionally, whether the positioning of the the Kia brand will be above Hyundai or below is not clear for now. We believe if and when Kia's India-specific plans materialise, the new-gen Picanto can be an interesting product in the country as its premium design and features will make it unique. The entry-level market has major players in the form of the Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Renault. The real challenge for Kia Motors in India is to maintain their premium quality and, at the same time, price their products competitively against the competition.