Kia Picanto GT-Line to launch mid-Jan, turbocharged Picanto GT to follow

Kia will triple the size of its Picanto compact hatch range in 2018 starting with the sports-styled GT-Line variant that’s set to launch in January, with the turbocharged performance-focused Picanto GT joining it later in the year

Kia Picanto GT-Line to launch mid-Jan, turbocharged Picanto GT to follow

It will be a significant range expansion for what is Kia Australia’s cheapest and tiniest vehicle, which has so far only been available in a single specification since the nameplate arrived in 2016.

Speaking to WhichCar, Kia Australia chief operating officer Damien Meredith confirmed that the Picanto GT-Line is set to make its local launch in conjunction with the Australian Open tennis tournament, which begins on January 15.

Kia Picanto Gt Line Front Quarter Jpg

Joining the existing Picanto S, the Picanto GT-Line will wear a sportier bodykit with deeper front airdam, front foglamps, a reshaped rear bumper and be available with 16-inch alloy wheels.

What it won’t have, though, is any extra power. The GT-Line will be a styling exercise, with power to be supplied by the same 62kW, 122Nm 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated petrol four as the Picanto S. Like the S, the GT-Line will also be available with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic.

Kia Picanto Gt Line Rear Quarter Jpg

Those looking for a little more pep in their Picanto will need to wait until later in 2018, when the 74kW, 172Nm 1.0-litre turbo three-cylinder Picanto GT is due to arrive. The GT will wear the same body plastics as the GT-Line, but with 12kW more power and 50Nm extra torque – and an Australian-developed suspension tune that should sharpen up its handling – the GT should have something to offer driving enthusiasts on a tight budget.

But uptake may be small, given the GT will only be available in Australia with a five-speed manual. The Picanto GT’s Korean-market equivalent, the Morning Turbo, is available with a four-speed auto, but Meredith confirmed that Australia-bound GTs will only come with the three-pedal transmission.

Kia Picanto Gt Line Front Jpg

“The GT is coming,” Meredith said.

“It’ll be manual-only, and we’re pretty confident of getting that [1.0-litre turbo] sometime in 2018.”

Kia Picanto Gt Line Interior Jpg

“We’re committed to having a top-end vehicle in each one of our segments”

Pricing for both cars will be announced closer to their launch, but with the existing Picanto S topping out at $15,690 drive-away in automatic form, the Picanto GT-Line is expected to arrive with a sub-$20K pricetag when it arrives in January.


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