Above: Kia Picanto GT
With a 73kW/172Nm 1.0-litre turbo three-cylinder engine taking the place of the regular Picanto’s 62kW/122Nm 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder, the Picanto GT will offer a genuine performance boost over its vanilla-flavoured cousin – and will likely wear a pricetag that will give it the title of ‘most affordable performance car’ in this country.
But a sportier option isn’t the only thing Kia Australia has in store for the Picanto line. The company is also expected to introduce a crossover-style variant to its smallest model range, in the form of the Picanto X-Line.
Above: Kia Picanto X-Line
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“There will be the Picanto GT 1.0-litre turbo and there will be another model for the Picanto arriving around the same time, at the Australian Open,” said Kia Australia spokesperson Kevin Hepworth. “Those cars will arrive late January.”
The Picanto GT will bring some extra spice, for sure, but its X-Line sibling may find traction amongst buyers keen to get into something with a more rugged aesthetic. With sales of smaller SUVs currently booming, the decision to bring the X-Line variant here could be an astute move on Kia Australia’s part.
Revealed at the Frankfurt show last year, the Picanto X-Line gets 15mm more ground clearance along with durable-looking black plastic cladding around its wheelarches, bumpers and sideskirts. In Europe it’s offered with the GT’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder and a choice of a five-speed manual or four-speed auto, and records an average fuel consumption of 4.5L/100km. Its outdoorsy image is strictly cosmetic though with no availability of an AWD-equipped driveline.
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Australian specifications are still yet to be confirmed, and pricing for the Picanto GT and X-Line won’t be announced until closer to launch. The GT will be offered with both a five-speed manual and six-speed automatic. Given the current Picanto range tops out at $17,490 for the Picanto GT-Line automatic, a sub-$20K starting price for Kia’s pint-sized performer doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility.
The Picanto X-Line will likely be marketed as an Australian Open special edition, as part of the automaker’s long-running sponsorship of Australia’s premier tennis event.