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Geneva show: Kia uncovers more Picanto details

City kid: The Kia Picanto will be offered with three petrol engines in Europe, but the existing 1.2-litre four-pot is expected to soldier on in Australia.

Kia’s new-gen baby Picanto to hit Australian shores in May

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Kia logo16 Feb 2017

KIA has revealed more technical and specification details of its new-generation Picanto micro car ahead of its official reveal at the Geneva motor show in three weeks.

In European spec, the funky city hatch will be offered with a trio of Euro 6 powertrains, including an all-new 1.0-litre T-GDI turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine producing 74kW and 172Nm, with a 0-100km/h time of 10.1 seconds.

Kia has carried over the two other engines, includingt the 1.0-litre naturally aspirated three-pot petrol unit that delivers 49kW and 96Nm and a 14.3-second 0-100km/h time.

The unit found in the current-gen Picanto in Australia, the 62kW/122Nm 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, also carries over, and is likely to continue to be offered Down Under.

While the two 1.0-litre engines are offered only with a five-speed manual gearbox, the 1.2-litre unit is configured for both a five-speed manual and a four-speed auto transmissions.

Kia Motors Australia is yet to confirm local specs, but GoAuto understands that the new Picanto will be offered here in both manual and auto guises, a change from the outgoing model which is only available with an automatic transmission.

A manual variant could help maintain the keen opening price of the Picanto, which is offered for $14,990 driveaway, with the auto expected to increase slightly in price because of new standard tech and comfort features.

It is believed that the new turbo 1.0-litre engine is being considered for the Australian market, but is far from locked in.

Fuel economy figures have not been released for the new 1.0-litre turbo engine, but the carry-over 1.0-litre it sips 4.4 litres per 100km in manual guise and emits 98g/km of CO2, down from 95g in the previous model.

CO2 emissions have improved in the 1.2-litre car, down from 106 to 104g/km, but it is unclear if the 5.3L/100km fuel figure of the current hatch has improved.

The new Picanto will go on sale in Australia in May this year, just a year after the second-gen version arrived as a toe-in-the-water exercise for the South Korean car-maker.

It has been a successful experiment so far, with Kia selling 1934 examples in the eight-and-a-half months it was on sale in 2016, making it the second best-selling micro car in Australia behind the Mitsubishi Mirage (3064 sales).

The Korean-built Picanto is a five-door-only affair in Europe this time around after Kia discontinued the three-door that was not offered in Australia.

As reported, the new Picanto will include customisation options in the cabin, with five colour combinations offered in Europe, including High Gloss Black that matches black, grey and white upholstery with white stitching and a black or grey base colour.

A GT-line variant with sporty flourishes, including a flat-bottom steering wheel, will be available in Europe but is unlikely to make it to Australia.

Under the skin, Kia engineers have modified the MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension setup and stiffened the anti-roll bars, while the 15mm larger wheelbase has also helped improve ride quality and stability, according to the car-maker.

The steering ratio is 13 per cent quicker than the outgoing model, thanks to a new steering rack, and the Picanto will feature torque vectoring by braking as part of the electronic stability control system.

Kia says improvements to noise, vibration and harshness levels have ensured the Picanto “offers the quietest cabin of any A-segment model”.

A new sound-proofing panel under the dashboard and in the floor, expandable sound-absorbing foam in the A- and B-pillars, as well as a new sound-absorbing engine cover and revised engine mounts have all made for a quieter car.

A new “floating” 7.0-inch touchscreen features in the cabin, housing sat nav with 3D mapping, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration and a reversing camera with guidelines. A wireless phone charger will be an option in some markets.

Safety wise it features six airbags, ESC and optional autonomous emergency braking and tyre pressure monitoring system.

Forty four per cent of the Picanto’s bodyshell is cast in advanced high-strength steel, which has cut 23kg from the body in white and improved tensile strength by 12 per cent. The use of the steel has ensured overall static torsional stiffness has improved by 32 per cent compared with the outgoing model.

Kia officially revealed the new Picanto in early January, but the Geneva show marks its first public showing.

More Australian specific details are likely to be announced at the Swiss event.

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