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First Look

Are you sitting down? Kia has dramatically facelifted the Picanto

A striking new look, upgraded engine selection and some fancy new tech inside the upgraded Kia Picanto city car

Published: 04 Jul 2023

Kia has done some things to its Picanto city car and released the pictures for us all to enjoy. The third generation of the firm’s entr-level model has been on sale since 2017, so it was overdue a nip and tuck. The results might be polarising, but the Picanto doesn’t care because the changes have given it the confidence it needs to enjoy life. 

The latest version of the family face will be familiar to Kia fans – the tiger nose grille has reached its most grandiose, and the dramatic headlights will scare other road users out of the way. In this case, perhaps just cyclists and mobility scooters. There are new lights at the back, too. 

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Kia says the new Picanto “brings progressive design for drivers to enjoy their freedom”, by which it presumably means runs to the seaside and trips to the bingo. How free you feel will depend on whether you go for the 1.0-litre 3cyl engine or the more powerful new 1.2-litre 4cyl. The 3cyl on the pre-facelift car was fun to hustle about, and sounded great, but ‘more powerful’ and ‘faster’ is all relative when you’re just about scraping a sub-10 second 0–62mph time. Still – it is a fun little car and let's hope it's still cheap to insure.

Kia’s vaguely aware of the Picanto’s audience and the bold new styling and changes to some of the specs are aimed at drawing in a much younger crowd – first-time buyers, in fact. Though with the economy the way it is, even they’re probably in their mid-thirties. The ‘sporty’ GT-Line trim will draw in young drivers and working professionals with its 16-inch alloys and tech-laden interior, Kia hopes. That interior will include an 8.0-inch touchscreen that comes equipped with the latest over the air update technology to keep the satnav and other bits fresh. 

In fact all new Picantos will get said touchscreen and a 4.2-inch digital display in the instrument panel, as well as Apple and Android connectivity. The refreshed car will also come with a host of swanky electronic safety features such as blind-spot collision warning and advance stability control. It also still comes with the famous seven-year, 100,000-mile Kia warranty that will probably outlive the first owner. So much for that younger audience.

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