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New Kia Picanto is one of the cheapest new cars you can buy

The facelifted Kia Picanto gets a refreshed exterior design; on sale now in the UK

  • Design mirrors Kia EV9 electric SUV
  • Smaller range of petrol engines
  • Costs from £15,595

Pricing has been confirmed for the new Kia Picanto, and city car buyers will be pleased to know that the fresh exterior design hasn’t compromised its budget-friendly focus. The range starts from just £15,595, making the Picanto one of the cheapest new cars on sale in the UK.

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While many manufacturers have withdrawn their smallest cars in favour of SUVs, the new Kia Picanto has been given a look inspired by the brand’s flagship Kia EV9 electric SUV. The city car will not get any electrification, however, instead featuring a streamlined petrol engine range.

What does the new Kia Picanto look like?

We had an exclusive opportunity to see the facelifted Kia Picanto in the metal in GT-Line guise last year, and one of the first things that struck us was the car’s new exterior. It’s been more heavily updated than a typical facelift, taking distinct cues from the brand’s latest ‘Opposites United’ design language as seen on the flagship EV9, such as the front and rear light signature and an overall squarer shape.

Exterior colours also mirror those offered on the EV9, with earthy colours such as the Adventurous Green hero colour, which the brand says contrast with the car’s futuristic shapes as part of the ‘Opposites United’ ethos.

The new Picanto gets on-trend touches, such as full width front and rear light bars. These are unique to the GT-Line trim; non GT-Line cars will get black trim pieces instead. With the new Picanto, the brand is leaning towards styling cues reminiscent of modern EVs, despite the fact that the Picanto will not be available with an electric powertrain.

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The exhaust tips are hidden, for example, contrasting with the outgoing GT-Line’s exposed dual tips. The eye-catching pops of red on the sportier flagship version of the outgoing Picanto have been replaced with subtler black trim pieces, too. 

As well as changes to the body, the new Picanto gets a few wheel options, the GT-Line car we saw gets alloys with squared-off, angular elements that are new to the lineup.

We were surprised to learn that the new Picanto has the same overall dimensions as the outgoing Picanto, as its new look gives the illusion of a larger car with greater road-presence. When we mentioned this to product expert Andrea De Arcangelis, he said this was a concerted effort by the brand to attract buyers who would have considered the larger, now-discontinued Kia Rio

It’s also a technique other manufacturers have used to adapt their city cars to a market with SUV-inclined tastes, such as the Toyota Aygo X crossover. The difference here is that the Picanto doesn’t get the higher ride height and slightly ballooned dimensions as seen on the Aygo X.

What about the Kia Picanto’s interior?

On the inside, the Picanto’s redesign is less drastic, although new interior colour options, such as Adventurous Green – which mirrors the new hero exterior colour – and Rich Brown, will be offered. 

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All Picantos now also get a 4.2-inch digital gauge cluster and there’s also an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard. The system is capable of over-the-air updates to keep it fresh.

USB charging ports, including newer USB-C outlets, also feature in the front and rear, and wireless smartphone charging is offered. Handily, all Picantos also get rear parking sensors and a reversing camera, too, along with air conditioning and automatic headlights and wipers.

A generous list of safety features are included, including a speed limiter (now a requirement for all cars in the UK) and a driving attention monitoring system. The Forward Collision System gets an update that means it now gets a junction collision function, which stops drivers turning into the path of oncoming traffic.

The outgoing Picanto 1 trim level has been discontinued for 2024, so the range now begins with the 2 model. For additional equipment, buyers can upgrade to Picanto GT-Line, 3 or GT-Line S variants, each bringing more kit. 

What engines are available in the 2024 Kia Picanto?

When asked, Product Expert Andrea De Arcangelis mentioned that Kia did explore the possibility of electrification, but the brand concluded this would reduce boot space – plus the higher costs associated with incorporating it into the current platform’s design would go against the Picanto’s budget-friendly ethos.

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Instead, the 66bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine has been carried over from the outgoing car, while a more powerful 77bhp 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine is fitted exclusively to the top-spec Picanto GT-Line S. The outgoing car’s 99bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged model has been discontinued due to slow sales.

The Picanto is offered with five-speed manual or automatic gearboxes – the latter a so-called automated-manual, which operates a traditional manual gearbox electronically, saving weight and improving efficiency over conventional automatic transmissions.

Official fuel economy figures are yet to be released, but the outgoing model gets an official figure of 58.9mpg with the 1.0-litre engine in manual guise, with the automatic getting up to 54.3mpg – Kia says to expect an improvement on this for the facelifted car. 

How much does the new Kia Picanto cost and when can I buy one?

In its entry-level ‘2’ guise, the Kia Picanto costs just £15,595. While that’s not quite as affordable as the outgoing Picanto in ‘1’ trim, it's only £565 more than the old Picanto 2.

Stepping up to GT-Line increases the price to £16,745, while the Picanto 3 costs £17,545. For the range-topping Picanto GT-Line S, you’ll be handing over £18,445. The automatic gearbox option commands an additional £700 over manual models. Like all Kias, the Picanto gets a generous seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty as standard.

UK buyers can place an order for the new Picanto now and the first customers should expect delivery from mid-July 2024.

When asked whether this would be the last Picanto, Kia’s representative said the future of the small city car hinges greatly on this latest facelift. Whether the nameplate could also make an appearance on an EV or hybrid version in the future also remains to be seen.

If you’re shopping for a new car on a budget, read our list of the best cheap cars on sale…

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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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