Kia has released official details of its updated Picanto city car, which is slated to make its first public appearance at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
Smaller than the Rio light hatch, the second-generation Picanto has been on sale in Europe, Korea and South-East Asia since 2011 in both three and five-door form.
Now in the middle of its life cycle, the Picanto scores some light cosmetic updates to freshen up its appearance.
The front and rear bumpers have been revised for a more modern appearance, as has the front grille.
New 14-inch alloy wheel designs will become available too, and cruise control, a speed limiter and 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system feature as options.
Mechanically, the Picanto's 1.0 litre inline three gets updates to conform to Euro VI emissions regulations and the front brake rotors are upsized to 252mm in diameter. An optional sport package will also be available in the European market.
Three two-tone interior colour schemes will be available, though no images have yet been released of the facelifted Picanto's cabin.
The Picanto has long been on Kia Australia's wishlist, with the company publicly confirming its interest in a local debut since 2011.
However a local business case for the Picanto has yet to be firmed up. Profit margins are slim in the light car category, and Kia would need to be certain that it could sell the Picanto in high enough volumes to make it worthwhile.
One factor that may determine the Picanto's future in Australia is whether Kia repositions the Rio as a more premium light car offering to rival the VW Polo, which would thus create a sufficient price gap below the Rio for the Picanto to slide in.
There's no official word as yet, but Kia Australia is believed to be close to finalising a business case for the Picanto. Indications are that a release in the second half of 2015 may be on the cards for the Picanto.
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