Dubicars Car Spotlight — Kia Picanto: The South-Korean Pocket-Rocket

The Kia Picanto, also known as the Kia Morning in some markets, is a five-door hatchback city car produced by the South Korean automaker Kia Motors since 2004. It is one of Kia’s most popular models, known for its affordability, fuel efficiency, and manoeuvrability.

Over the years, Kia has introduced many generations of the Picanto. What was once a humble small car, now has a variant to set the streets and even racetracks on fire. In this edition of the DubiCars Car Spotlight, we take a closer look at the Kia Picanto, its history, and its generations.

First Generation Kia Picanto | 2003 – 2011

The first chapter of the Picanto’s journey began at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show. Built on a shortened platform inherited from the Hyundai Getz, this initial iteration offered a practical and functional five-door hatchback design. Under the hood, buyers could choose between two gasoline engines: a 1.0-litre and a 1.1-litre variant. 

kia picanto history

Both engines prioritised fuel efficiency, making the Picanto an ideal choice for city driving. In 2007, the Picanto received a minor facelift, sporting revised headlights, taillights, and bumpers for a refreshed look. This initial generation garnered appreciation for its practicality, ease of navigating tight spaces, and impressive fuel economy.

Second Generation Kia Picanto | 2011 – 2017

The year 2011 marked a significant leap forward for the Picanto with the introduction of the second generation. This iteration embraced a more contemporary and stylish design, shedding its predecessor’s utilitarian aesthetic. The engine options expanded to cater to diverse preferences, These include: 

  • 1.0-litre three-cylinder
  • 1.2-litre four-cylinder
  • 1.0-litre turbo three-cylinder
kia picanto history

The interior quality also witnessed a significant upgrade, featuring better materials and incorporating more features for enhanced comfort and convenience. A 2015 facelift further refined the design with subtle tweaks and introduced additional technology options, solidifying Picanto’s position as a modern and well-equipped city car. This generation also delivered improved handling and driving dynamics compared to the first iteration.

Third Generation Kia Picanto | 2017 – Present

The Picanto entered its current-gen at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, showcasing a more sophisticated and upmarket appearance. Sharing its platform with the Hyundai i10, this generation retained its practicality while adopting a sleeker and more contemporary design language. 

The engine options were streamlined to two gasoline choices: 

  • 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine
  • 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine
kia picanto history

Safety remained a top priority, with features like automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning, enhancing driver confidence and passenger protection. In 2020, the Picanto received a minor update, featuring new styling and additional standard features, ensuring it remains competitive in the ever-evolving city car segment.

Kia Picanto Achievements & Awards

  • iF product design award in the “Transportation Design” category (2011)
  • Red Dot award in the “Automobiles, transportation, commercial and water vehicles” category (2012)
  • iF product design award in the “Transportation Design” category (2018)
  • Red Dot Award in the “Car Design” category (2018)
  • Highest ranked in the City Car category of the UK Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) (2016) by J.D. Power and Associates

The Kia Picanto’s journey through three generations reflects its continuous evolution, adapting to meet the changing needs and preferences of city car drivers. From its initial focus on practicality to its embrace of modern design and technology, the Picanto has established itself as a reliable and compelling option in the compact car market.

The third-generation Kia Picanto is a popular choice in the small car segment in the UAE. This generation continues to offer performance, practicality, efficiency and features, all at a reasonable price. The prices for the new Kia Picanto start at around AED 38,000 in the UAE.

Find new Picanto for sale in the UAE & used Picanto for sale in the UAE.

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