Picanto becomes third Kia in a row to be facelifted

Published: 03 June 2020

► Slight tweaks for Kia’s city car
► Upgraded infotainment and safety kit
► Three engines on offer plus new AMT

Hot on the heels of the Sportage and Rio, Kia’s facelifted its smallest model for 2020. The updated Picanto city car will go on sale later this year, bringing with it impressive levels of safety kit for a small car as well as improved infotainment, more efficient engines and a new automated manual gearbox.

Kia Picanto 1.0 review

Though there aren’t that many city cars left on the market, the few left will provide strong competition for the Picanto – including the brilliant Volkswagen Up, cheap and cheerful Suzuki Ignis and, from Kia’s sister brand, the Hyundai i10.

Anything groundbreakingly new?

Of course not. It’s a mid-life facelift. With that being said, base cars are barely changed at all in terms of styling – the design department’s efforts were focused on the two range-toppers, the Picanto GT-Line and X-Line.

2020 Kia Picanto - front three quarter

Both these cars get a new textured surround to their grilles plus a chrome-effect bar running out into the headlights, artificially widening this tall city car’s stance. They both get redesigned head- and tail-lights, plus accents at either end of the grille – red on GT-Line, Black on X-Line.

Redesigned front and rear bumpers further separate the two, with a wider air intake for GT-Line with crystalline foglights. The X-line, meanwhile, gets faux-SUV style skid plates to join up with its black plastic cladding.

Across the range, there’s 10 paint colours and two brand-new alloy wheel designs in 14- or 16-inch flavours.

What about inside?

New colour packs brighten up what’s usually a very dark interior – you can have Orange, Red, and bafflingly Lime or Green packs – the latter comes with denim-style seat upholstery. Otherwise, it’s a simple case of updated infotainment.

The new eight-inch touchscreen is the same one you’ll get on the newly facelifted Rio and Sportage, and incorporates the same connected tech. There are telematic systems which bring live traffic info right to the sat-nav, as well as weather, parking and even petrol prices where supported.

2020 Kia Picanto - interior

There’s also a companion app telling you where the car’s parked as well as allowing for remote diagnostic info. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity tick the boxes for phone connectivity in-car, as does Bluetooth multi-connection – letting you pair one phone for phone calls and another device for media playback.

Safety kit’s also impressive for such a little car, with autonomous emergency braking as standard plus seven airbags. Depending on trim, cars also get blind-spot avoidance and lane-keeping aids.

Anything more powerful than a sewing machine under the bonnet?

Three engines, with identical power outputs than before but the promise of greater efficiency and lower CO2 emissions. Actual figures haven’t been released yet, so we’ll have to go with that.

There are two non-turbo petrols – a 1.0-litre three-cylinder and a 1.2-litre four-cylinder with 66bhp and 83bhp respectively. They’re paired to five-speed manuals or, depressingly, an automated manual transmission. This replaces the competent if thirsty four-speed auto previously available, and if it’s anything like the unit in its Hyundai i10 sister car we can confidently tell you to avoid it like you’re socially distancing from your grandmother.

2020 Kia Picanto - rear three quarter

The most exciting, albeit most expensive, is the 1.0-litre turbo with 99bhp available in GT-Line cars as somewhat of a ‘warm hatch’ experience. It’s badged as T-GDI.

The updated Picanto goes on sale in the autumn. Pricing and full specs will be announced closer to release.

By Tom Wiltshire

Bauer Automotive staff writer; enjoys Peugeots, naturally-aspirated diesels, column shifts and steel wheels