Cape Town - Kia’s all-new Picanto hatch is being launched in South Africa this week, sporting a more mature design, improved practicality and some new gadgets.

The redesigned hatch is roughly the same size at its predecessor, measuring 3595mm in length and 1595mm in width, but has been repackaged to offer more cabin space, while the boot grows by a useful 55 litres to total 255 with the back seats in place.

Unfortunately South Africans aren’t getting the 1-litre turbopetrol engine option offered overseas, for now at least, so at launch your choice is limited to a pair of normally aspirated petrol engines.

The 1-litre three-cylinder unit produces 49kW at 5500rpm and 95Nm at 3750rpm (down from its predecessor’s 51kW, although torque is up by 1Nm), while the 1.2 four-cylinder unit has also had a slight detune (from 65kW to 61kW at 6000rpm), although torque is up from 120Nm to 122Nm, still at 4000rpm.

Walk through the range

Kia South Africa is offering a much broader range than before, with a choice of Start, Street, Style and Smart trim grades. Thankfully Kia hasn’t forgotten the affordability factor in these hard times with pricing on the base model, at R134 995, rising by just R5000 over the previous model, although feature indulgence can make things quite expensive, with the range-topper almost hitting the R200 000 mark.

The Start base models also skimp on some safety and comfort features to keep the price low. As before the cheapest Picantos have an airbag for the driver, but not for the front passenger, and ABS brakes has also been left out of the equation.

The Start does pack the basic comfort features, however, with air conditioning, power steering and a two-speaker audio system with USB and Aux ports being part of the deal.

Next up is the Street specification grade, starting at R149 995 and adding the passenger airbag and ABS, along with remote central locking, driver seat height adjustment, audio controls on the steering wheel and bigger steel wheels (up from 13 to 14 inches in diameter).

The Style derivative adds 14-inch alloy wheels as well as foglights, daytime running lights, a rear window wiper, auto light control and two extra speakers.

But if you’re really serious about features it can only be the ‘Smart’ flagship model, which adds electric window and mirror control, a 17.8cm touchscreen multimedia system with Bluetooth and voice recognition, reverse camera and rear park distance control. The Smart also gains a leather steering wheel and gear knob, aluminium pedals and partial leather seat upholstery.

IOL’s Dave Abrahams is currently attending the Picanto’s local launch, so watch this space for a more comprehensive story, with driving impressions, later in the week.

KIA PICANTO PRICES

1-litre, three-cylinder:

1.0 Start manual R134 995
1.0 Street manual R149 995
1.0 Style manual R159 995
1.0 Style auto R172 995
1.0 Smart manual R179 995

1.2-litre, four-cylinder:

1.2 Start manual R150 995
1.2 Start auto R163 995
1.2 Street manual R165 995
1.2 Style manual R175 995
1.2 Style auto R188 995
1.2 Smart manual R195 995

IOL Motoring

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