These are the first spy shots of the next-generation Kia Picanto which will go on sale in late spring 2011.
Although disguised, it’s clear to see that the new 2011 Kia Picanto will take plenty of cues from the styling sketches released last week. Encouragingly, from what's visible, it looks very similar to the chrome model of the Picanto displayed at the 2010 Bologna motor show.
Kia Picanto (2011): what's new?
The new Picanto's headlamps are perched high up and cut back into the join where the front wings meet the bonnet. The crease, which on the styling sketch sits high up close to the window line, appears to have made it to the production version -stretching the length of the car all the way from above the front wheel arch.
Not surprisingly, the production Picanto’s wheels are a lot smaller in real life than those seen in the sketches and on the design model. It's also adopted a more upright stance.
It’s not possible to see the front or back of the prototype Picanto in our scoop photos, but let’s hope the angular front and rear make it through to production at Kia’s Korean plant (this Kia won't be built in Europe, unlike the Ceed).
What else do we know about the Kia Picanto?
The Picanto has been designed by Kia’s Germany-based European styling studio, led by Peter Schreyer, formerly of Audi. Kia hopes the city car will boost sales in Europe - the biggest market for A-segment cars. A new Rio supermini will follow later in the year, extending Kia's new look.
The new Picanto will be offered with a 1.0- or 1.2-litre petrol, with the cleaner of the two spurting out less than 100g of CO2 every kilometre. This means it’ll fall into the free road tax band in the UK. No diesels are planned, but a stop/start system is highly likely.
No price has been announced yet, but expect it to cost slightly more than the model it replaces. That points to a starting price around £7000.
Kia says the Picanto exudes 'self confidence, solidity and maturity' and will showcase its new design DNA, technology and environmental efforts. We’ll reserve judgment on its looks until it sheds its disguise at the 2011 Geneva motor show.