But that’s not a huge surprise, considering the second-gen Picanto was already over five years old by the time it hit our shores. A successor was never going to be far, but Kia Australia was keen to establish the nameplate here ahead of its arrival – albeit only in a singular specification level, with a 1.4-litre engine and automatic transmission.
However the payoff for shoppers who were happy to wait is this, the all-new Picanto. Set to launch overseas following its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, WhichCar understands the third-generation Picanto will go on sale locally toward the end of May this year.
Sporting a great deal of athletic zing in its exterior design as well as an interior that’s significantly more posh, the new Picanto slots in neatly beside other box-fresh Kias such as the Optima and Sportage.
The design is more mature than the slightly cartoonish second-generation Picanto, with a 15mm stretch in wheelbase (from 2385mm to 2400mm) and a trimming of front and rear overhangs gifting it a more planted stance – as well as interior packaging benefits.
Kia claims the new Picanto boasts more cabin and cargo space than segment rivals, thanks to its new proportions.
Inside, the dash goes from being brutally basic to cutting-edge, with a floating infotainment screen the focal point of a dashboard that’s more visually exciting than the outgoing model. The steering wheel also gains a third spoke, and is now festooned with infotainment controls.
Integrated sat-nav appears to be available as well, though local specifications have yet to be confirmed.
Though Kia Australia credits the second-gen Picanto’s keen $14,990 drive away pricing, simplified range structure and attractive seven-year warranty as among its greatest virtues, its replacement is likely to feature an expanded lineup encompassing a manual-transmission base model and potentially a high-grade GT variant (pictured).
With the current model already proving popular in the cut-throat light hatch segment, a more well-rounded range structure should result in greater sales for Kia’s smallest offering. Expect more details of the Australian 2017 Kia Picanto range closer to launch.