Honey, I shrunk the Kia Sportage.
Kia will reveal the most powerful Picanto ever at the Frankfurt Motor Show – the Picanto X-Line, which packs a 98bhp 1-litre T-GDI turbo motor. On sale later this year, the new engine helps the Picanto scrabble from 0-62mph in just over 10 seconds, while still averaging 62.7mpg.
But Kia hasn’t decided to give it a warm hatch makeover to suit; instead, the Picanto X-Line is an SUV-inspired city car, a sort of Kia Sportage mini-me, with a ride height raised 15mm and rugged-look bumpers boasting metal-style skidplates. Kia’s also added black wheelarch cladding and lime green details for the grille and fog lights: silver is also available if you don’t like green.
Inside, the Kia Sportage SUV-inspired city car has a leather-clad flat-bottom steering wheel with green stitching, plus special white and green highlights for the door grabs. A 7-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard, as are a rear parking camera and aluminium pedals.
The new engine boasts low CO2 emissions of 104g/km, and a strong torque figure of 126lb ft spread over a broad 1,500-4,000rpm rev range. Previously offered in the Ceed and Rio, it’s the first time the punchy three-cylinder turbo motor has been offered in a Kia this compact.
Michael Cole, COO for Kia Motors Europe, reckons the new Picanto X-Line will be a potent addition to the already-thriving range: 'We launched the new Picanto in Europe earlier this year and it is already outselling its predecessor. Year-on-year, Picanto sales in the first half of 2017 grew 23 percent to 31,827 units, and globally it is one of our best-selling vehicles.'
And what about those who like the sound of the sporty new engine but still wish it were in something a bit sportier-looking? Fear not, says Kia: the T-GDI engine is also being launched in the racy Picanto GT-Line…