The all-new Kia Picanto, making its global premiere at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, has been redesigned and re-engineered with stand-out styling to completely redefine its position as one of the most competitive vehicles in the global 'city car' A-segment.
With looks that convey a sense of solidity and maturity, new efficient engines and reduced CO2 emissions from 90 g/km, high levels of specification and safety features, the Kia Picanto will be offered for the first time with a choice of 5-door and 3-door body styles.
"Our new Kia Picanto is now a small car, grown-up," comments Soon-Nam Lee, Director of Overseas Marketing, Kia Motors Corporation. "It is such a complete car, such a high quality package, offering numerous premium features and multiple trim choices, that it will raise the fundamental perception of A-segment models to a higher level.
"We anticipate that global demand for A-segment cars will be in the region of 2.4-million units annually over the next six years and we are confident that new Picanto will enable us to capture a larger share of this market," adds Mr Lee.
"The first generation Kia Picanto marked our debut in the A-segment in 2004 and went on to achieve more than 1.1 million sales globally over the following seven years, with sales in the UK totalling 77,810. I am sure that this new small Kia will become even more popular than the current vehicle," concludes Mr Lee.
UK consumers will benefit from the next generation Kia Picanto's greatly reduced CO2 emissions, improved fuel economy and reduced ownership costs when the model goes on sale in 2011.
More space and more style
The Kia Picanto is the newest member to join the exciting and stylish Kia family. Kia has taken a courageous new step with the latest version of its smallest model. The character of the car has been transformed from 'cute' and 'feminine' into mature and handsome, designed to turn heads on the high street, thanks to its good looking, sexy proportions and dynamic design language. With a greater sense of stability and strength which is emphasised by the muscular wheel arches and wide set alloy wheels.
Up front, the face of the Kia Picanto expresses the same assertive vigour and refinement as its bigger brothers, the Venga and the Sportage, and shares with them the same signature 'tiger nose' grille. Kia Picanto's daylight running lights emphasis the high level of design and high tech sophistication.
This bold front end is supported by a strongly-sculpted and dynamic body which embodies the strength and maturity of the Kia Picanto and gives the vehicle a real 'premium presence' on the road. The strong body feature line along the flank brings a dynamic tension to the car's profile and beautifully integrates the exterior door handles. This is just another example of the attention to detail which will set the new Picanto apart from its competitors.
Looking from the rear, the Kia Picanto's new design theme emphasises modernity, with its large rear window framed by the unique rear lamp graphic and supported by a strong purposeful bumper.
The 3-door model, with its unique treatment to C-pillar, bumpers and grille, offers an exciting exterior theme which will broaden the Kia Picanto's appeal to a wider audience when it goes on sale later in 2011.
The graphic composition of the 3-door Kia Picanto's front face has been subtly moulded to increase the sporty characteristics of the vehicle. The expression is more aggressive, the message is livelier - this car is looking for action! Likewise from the rear, the contrasting bumper insert emphasizes the car's width and strength. It's all finely tuned to create a car with a distinctly different character to the 5-door model.
While becoming more stylish, the new 3.6-metre long Kia Picanto will also remain an extremely practical car. On the outside, overall vehicle length has increased by 60 mm, and the wheelbase has grown by 15 mm. These increases, and some clever interior packaging, have enhanced the cabin space for people (front legroom is up by 36 mm), and for luggage, with boot capacity increased by 27% to 200 litres.
Attention to small details of the exterior design have improved the new Kia Picanto's aerodynamics, reducing its drag figure to just Cd 0.31 - better than the vast majority of A-segment cars.
Projection-style headlamps and LED rear lamps will be available, together with a choice of steel or alloy wheels up to 15 inches - bringing added sophistication to the exterior appearance.
Kia expects the new 3-door model to account for around 30% of Kia Picanto sales. The sportier-looking 3-door will be key in driving 'conquest' sales to new, younger consumer groups.
Raising the benchmark with 'big car' comforts
Manufactured exclusively at Kia's Seosan plant in Korea, Kia Picanto's new found maturity is also reflected in the interior design, which sets a new benchmark in its class for material quality and trim choices, new Kia Picanto will be presented in the UK with a wide range of six exterior colours.
New Picanto's sophisticated interior will offer buyers numerous 'big car' comfort and convenience features - many of them fitted for the first time on a car in this segment.
The interior architecture shows the same chic functionality as the exterior with major controls arranged in an attractive and easy to use layout which emphasises the width and space of the interior. The thick rimmed two-spoke steering wheel and the signature Kia 'three cylinder' instrument cluster with its clear and precise graphics, reflect the consistency with which the new design philosophy is being used throughout the Kia product line-up.
New Kia Picanto will also be available with automatically controlled air-conditioning, electronic and heated folding door mirrors with side repeaters, automatic light control with 'escort' and 'welcome' modes, steering wheel mounted audio controls, retractable dual cup holders,
Other new features available include smart-key entry system with engine start/stop button, AUX, iPod and USB connections for the RDS radio CD player with MP3 compatibility, Bluetooth® hands-free with voice recognition, heated front seats and Intelligent Stop and Go that further enhances fuel economy.
Highly efficient engines deliver great fuel economy
In Europe, every new Kia Picanto will come with a highly efficient Kappa engine that helps lower this model's CO2 base-line to just 95 g/km and improves fuel consumption to as much as 67.3 mpg.
Three versions of the Kappa will be offered - two in the UK. A four-cylinder, 1,248 cc engine that generates 85 ps and 121 Nm of torque tops the line-up. Two three-cylinder, 998 cc units will present customers with a choice of petrol or Bi-fuel technologies (LPG + petrol) - Bi-fuel is available in selected countries but not the UK. The petrol engine produces 69 ps and 95 Nm of torque. The Bi-fuel unit delivers 82 ps and 94 Nm of torque.
Made in Korea, the Kappa family of engines share many common characteristics, including dual CVVT (continuously variable valve timing), a cast aluminium block, off-set crankshaft, maintenance-free long-life timing chain and low-friction 'beehive' valve springs.
This combination of advanced technologies means that exhaust emissions have been significantly reduced, so that the new, petrol only, Picanto line-up will have a CO2 rating of 99 to 125 g/km. Fuel economy will range from 67.3 to 42.2 mpg, contributing to lower running costs.
Selected models will also be available with Kia's fuel-stretching EcoDynamics technologies (automatic stop-start - ISG, advanced alternator control, upgraded starter motor and low-rolling resistance tyres), cutting emissions even further - to between 95 and 102 g/km.
The standard transmission for all engines in new Kia Picanto will be a 5-speed manual, while a 4-speed automatic gearbox will be available as an option on the 1.25-litre 85 ps engine.
Improved ride, stability and braking
New Kia Picanto's suspension and running gear has been developed from the previous model to retain that car's responsive handling while improving ride quality and refinement.
The MacPherson strut front suspension features an increased castor angle of 4.1 degrees, for enhanced straight-line driving stability, 12% softer springs and longer wheel travel with 20mm shorter bump-stops.
At the rear, the Coupled Torsion Beam Axle is 60% stiffer to reduce under-steer, with 29% softer springs, 15 mm shorter bump-stops and larger trailing-arm bushes for improved stability and a more compliant ride.
The Kia Picanto's all-disc braking system, which is standard on all models fitted with Electronic Stability Control, is backed up with standard ABS anti-lock, electronic brake force distribution and emergency 'brake assist' systems. Stopping distance from 100 kph (62 mph) is among the class-best at 41.0 metres.
Enhanced safety for occupants and pedestrians
The all-new bodyshell created for the Kia Picanto uses a higher percentage of high-strength steel and incorporates ring-shaped reinforcing loops within the B- and C-pillars, plus additional bracing at the front between the cowl and suspension towers for improved rigidity.
For greater side-impact protection, the B-pillar and side sills are reinforced with high-tensile steel plates, the anti-intrusion door-beams are extended to overlap the B-pillar and polyurethane pads are fitted within the front door trims.
Available safety equipment will include up to six airbags, electronic stability control and hill-start assist.
For additional safety, an Emergency Stop Signal system is standard in Europe. Sensors detect when the driver is braking suddenly and hard, and then flash the brake lights three times to alert following drivers that the car is slowing rapidly.
Pedestrian safety has also been improved by fitting a new cross-member below the front bumper, creating a deformable cowling ahead of the windscreen and off-setting the hood striker by 50 mm from the car's centre line.
NVH counter-measures include larger hydraulic mountings for the engine and transmission, a triple-layer dashboard bulkhead sound-deadening panel, dual door sealing strips, and two measures to reduce wind noise - sound-blockers within the door mirror mounts and moving the radio antenna towards the rear of the roof.