Smarter packaging will make the new Picanto roomier than its predecessor.
Smarter packaging will make the new Picanto roomier than its predecessor.

Seoul – Kia is playing it safe with an evolutionary, if somewhat more grown-up, design for its all-new Picanto, which the Korean carmaker has revealed ahead of its planned debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

Take a peek at the interior picture and it’s clear that Kia’s smallest hatch is taking a decisive step upmarket with fancier materials and new gadgets, including a touch-screen infotainment system that hovers above the air vents. It’s worth noting however that we’re seeing it in range-topping ‘GT-Line’ specification – the budget-friendlier versions will no doubt be more humbly appointed in line with their positioning.

Kia also promises more interior space than before, although that’s down to clever packaging rather than increased dimensions. At a smidgen under four metres, it’s the same length as its predecessor, but the wheelbase and rear overhang have grown, while the front overhang has been shortened.

Kia has yet to confirm the engine line-up for the newcomer, but dare we wish that the company’s new 1-litre turbopetol engine will find its way into top models, with normally aspirated 1-litre and 1.25-litre engines likely forming the mainstay of the range. The 1.0 T-GDI unit is offered in 72kW and 87kW versions in the new Rio that was revealed late last year.

As for the new Picanto’s local introduction, timing has yet to be set in stone but Kia SA is hoping to introduce it around the third quarter of this year.