In December 2022 it was reported that the 3rd gen Kia Picanto will receive a second facelift in 2023. And now we have the first spy shots of the heavily camouflaged Kia Picanto facelift 2.0 test mule. The current generation model was launched in 2017 and received its first facelift in 2020.
As per the information, the updated Picanto is due to receive a makeover inspired by the EV9 electric SUV. Although the test mules wear heavy camouflage wrap, the images published on South Korean automotive platforms show us a hint that the Picanto will receive a fascia similar to the EV9. Kia’s other products including the 4th gen Sorento and Carnival MPV will also get the same EV9 treatment as seen in the spy images of these vehicles.
Kia Picanto facelift spotted in South Korea
The side profile remains pretty much unchanged apart from the new machined alloy wheels. At the back, there is a redesigned bumper, whereas the taillights will get a revised LED light signature. Interior images aren’t available yet but changes are expected to be limited, with the inclusion of an updated multimedia system.
The refreshed Picanto will likely retain using the current range of engine options. Depending on the market, the 3rd gen Picanto comes available with 1.0L and 1.2L engine options in naturally aspirated and turbocharged guises, paired to either 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic gearbox options.
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Known as Morning in South Korea, the Picanto is considered an important model for Kia as it’s the only small car the South Korean automaker offers in its lineup. But as electrified cars are becoming a priority, small cars with an internal combustion engine aren’t a top priority for most auto manufacturers right now. According to analysts & industry pundits, introducing an all-electric version is not possible for mass-produced small cars as profit margins are wafer-thin.
3rd gen Kia Picanto facelift currently on sale in global markets
Picanto is the cheapest option in Kia’s global lineup but has been suffering from poor sales in recent years. Based on the typical 6-year life cycles of Kia models, a replacement by an all-new model was due in 2023. However, Kia is instead prioritizing another facelift – for the time being – as sales of city cars decline globally, and strict 2025 emissions rules in Picanto’s main market, Europe, threaten the future of affordable, petrol-powered small cars.
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Production of the Kia Picanto in its home market of South Korea totaled approximately 120,000 cars over the first 10 months of 2022, down from 165,000 and 177,000 over the same periods in 2019 and 2017 respectively. Kia hopes that the EV9-inspired facelift will help boost the sales of the aging 3rd gen Picanto before a new model replaces it. The Kia Picanto facelift 2.0 is expected to be introduced in key markets towards the second half of 2023.
A 3d animation professional with over 20 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations & production facilities of Pakistan, an avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver writings to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com