‘Segment-creating’ minicar to tighten its stranglehold in the space.
Korean carmaker Kia will strengthen its hold on the minicar space by introducing new variants of its relatively well-received Picanto hatch, which will offer the punchier powertrain that we always felt this model needed to make it a properly interesting proposition in the segment. The Picanto is the dominant player in the small car space, easily outselling its rivals like the Mitsubishi Mirage, but Kia won’t be resting on its laurels anytime soon.
The Picanto will welcome a proper GT variant in the first-quarter of next year which will not only look sharper, but pack a better punch under the bonnet. Where the current GT-Line model uses the same 1.25-litre atmo petrol engine, the Picanto GT will employ a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder mill, offering 72kW and 172Nm (up 10kW and 50Nm from the 1.25-litre donk).
In Korea, the Kia Picanto GT is offered with either a 4-speed automatic (like ours), whereas in Europe it gets a 5-speed manual. Australia will receive both transmission options, which means there will be a properly-fun turbo-manual Picanto option for hoonigans (like this writer) to fully exploit the Picanto’s fun handling characteristics.
Looks-wise the GT shouldn’t differ too much from the GT-Line model we already get, though there may be changes in store given that it’ll likely sit as the range-topping variant.
The Picanto GT won’t be the only new small car on the block though, as Kia will be bringing an Australian Open special edition of the Picanto to market at around about the same time. The company’s been very tight-lipped on the specifics of the AO model, but it’s likely going to be a Picanto X-Line with extra dress-up kit. Once the 800-or-so limited-run cars have finished, the Picanto X-Line will probably join the permanent lineup, though that depends highly on the reception that the AO edition gets on arrival.