With people moving toward crossovers and SUVs, the A-segment is gradually shrinking in Europe. However, there are still a few brands eager to sell you a tiny hatchback, including Toyota with its Aygo X. Kia is also a player in this increasingly rarified class by investing in a new Picanto. Shown here in the flagship GT-Line trim, the diminutive hatch has been subjected to massive design changes on the outside while the cabin remains familiar.
The front fascia of this range-topping version is quite complicated as there's a lot going on. It's easy to notice design cues from the Niro have rubbed onto the new Picanto (aka Morning in some markets including South Korea) to give the pint-sized car a striking look. Vertically stacked headlights meet in the middle courtesy of an LED bar at the upper section of the "tiger nose" grille. It's the same story at the back where upright taillights are connected through the light bar on the tailgate.
2024 Kia Picanto
The front bumper looks rather busy with all those openings (provided they're not fake) and should look cleaner on a lesser trim level. With a prominent rear diffuser, the GT-Line variant looks surprisingly aggressive for such a small car but don’t go into thinking this has any sporty ambitions. It remains a simple hatchback to tackle the urban jungle. Wheel sizes start at 14 inches, but the more expensive models get 15- or 16-inch alloys. Pay extra and you can get the 2024 Picanto with a small sunroof that opens.
While the exterior has been overhauled, the cabin brings a subtle evolution compared to the model it replaces. Kia installs an eight-inch touchscreen and a digital instrument cluster while keeping separate controls for heating and ventilation. The GT-Line gets a flat-bottomed steering wheel along with goodies such as a heated steering wheel you wouldn’t necessarily expect on an A-segment model. Yes, it has a clutch pedal because it continues to be offered with a five-speed manual gearbox.
Details about the engines are not available for now but we do know the 2024 Picanto will be available with three-cylinder 1.0- and 1.2-liter naturally aspirated gasoline units. The automated manual transmission (AMT) is sticking around. Kia's engineers have tweaked the engines to make them greener and more efficient than before.
Although it’s a tiny car, the new Picanto is loaded with safety equipment varying from blind spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking to active lane assistant and driver attention warning system.
Sister brand Hyundai is not giving up on the A-segment either as it announced earlier this year plans to give the i10 a next-generation model. The i20 supermini and i30 compact hatch are sticking around as well, so the equivalent Kia Rio and Ceed are expected to continue.