DRIVEN: Kia Picanto receives second facelift, but it’s pricey now

Published Apr 30, 2024


The Kia Picanto has always been a popular and much-loved small hatchback in South Africa, with the South-Korean automaker enjoying over 100,000 sales locally since its introduction in 2004.

Now in its third generation and second facelift in the current life cycle, we jetted down to sunny Cape Town to find out whether the fan-hero can continue to win South Africans’ hearts over.

Measuring at 1,495mm in height, 3,595mm in length, and 1,595mm in width, the Picanto’s dimensions remain unchanged. This author measures roughly 1.7m in height, and when seated in the driver’s seat, or behind my own driving position, I found the space on offer to be decent enough.

The boot space at 255L however is rather tiny and this may pose a problem to buyers who may find themselves needing to load more than a handful of items in the boot often.

The boot is small by class standards. Picture: Kia SA.

As mentioned, the Kia Picanto is now receiving its second facelift of the current third generation. This time around, several changes have been made to the exterior, both at the front and rear.

Up front, the Picanto receives a revised iteration of the tiger nose grille, flanked by updated headlights which now bring the Picanto in line with its siblings across the Kia line-up. Furthermore, a new front bumper has been added along with a revised fender and bonnet.

A second life-cycle facelift sees the Picanto receiving several improvements to its exterior styling. Picture: Kia SA.

Moving towards the rear, the Picanto receives a revised tailgate with updated taillights which include a horizontal connecting bar and a new light signature, with a redesigned lower bumper also added.

Noteworthy, the Kia Picanto also receives additions to the colour pallete, with Sporty Blue metallic, Smoke Blue metallic, and Adventurous Green metallic now also included for the line-up.

The interior sees the least updates made, with only the 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen system updated. The overall fit and finish of the cabin is commendable, with a good use of decent quality materials also used.

Cabin changes are minimal. Picture: Kia SA.

You may, or may not remember the previous model naming convention, but to give you a reminder, they were namely: Start, Street, and Style.

The entire Picanto range has now been completely revised and now features LX, EX and EX Plus models.

What you get for your money

The entry level LX features body-coloured bumpers, heated side mirrors, remote central locking with an immobilizer, keyless entry, black cloth upholstery, height adjustment for the driver, electric windows all around, manual air conditioning, and a safety feature which blocks the windows from completely closing should an object be detected.

Entertainment is taken care of by an 8.0-inch (20.3cm) infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on duty too. Four speakers and a USB port in the front are part of the deal too. The infotainment system also includes a reverse camera with dynamic guidelines.

Following the LX model is the mid-spec EX, which adds new 14-inch alloy wheels, side indicator lamps found on the electric folding side mirrors, a storage bin between the front seats, a rear seat belt occupant alert function, an upgraded 4.2-inch TFT cluster, automatic light control, and a further two tweeter speakers.

The safety features in this model are also upgraded, with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) also added.

As a result of Mzansi not receiving the GT-Line derivative of the Picanto due to concerns of being overly priced locally, South Africans will have to settle for the EX Plus model as a range-topper.

That said, the EX Plus benefits from the addition of a smart key with push-button start/stop, an illuminated vanity mirror for the driver, automatic climate control, park distance warning sensors for the rear, artificial leather upholstery, high gloss trimmings on the centre fascia, LED rear combination taillights and 15-inch alloys.

A peek beneath the bonnet

Beneath the bonnet, the Kia Picanto employs the same line-up of engines: a 1.0-litre three-cylinder mill which produces 49kW and 95Nm of torque, and a 1.2-litre engine which is good for 62kW and 122Nm of torque. Two transmission options are on offer: a 5-speed manual and a 4-speed automatic.

Down in the Mother City, the former engine which we sampled felt every bit sufficient in the hustle and bustle of the city centre. The manual transmission was smooth shifting, and with the compact size of the Picanto, we were able to navigate through the streets of the city quite easily.

What does it cost?

When it comes to pricing, the 2024 Kia Picanto is no longer a ‘starter pack’ as we used to know it. With a starting price of R260,995 for the entry level LX manual model, it’s by no means a ‘cheap’ car.

With fierce competition and alternatives at a similar price point, the Picanto nameplate may have its work cut out for it in the local market.

Kia Picanto Pricing (April 2024)

1.0 LX Manual: R260,995

1.0 LX Auto: R278,995

1.2 EX Manual: R284,995

1.2 EX Auto: R302,995

1.2 EX Plus Manual: R307,995

1.2 EX Plus Auto: R325,995

All Kia Picanto models are sold with an unlimited kilometre, 5-year warranty with roadside assistance, and a prepaid 2-year / 30 000km service plan.

Follow Mpho on Instagram and Twitter