The second styling upgrade for Kia’s smallest model – and Australia’s cheapest new car – has been spied in South Korea before the first Australian showrooms arrive later this year.
The facelift 2024 Kia Picanto was spied on in South Korea before launching in Australia later this year.
As previously reported, the Picanto is set to receive another facelift before the end of 2023 – for now – following the current model launched in 2017 and a first facelift in 2020 – instead of a new generation amid declining city car sales globally.
Images published on South Korean social media platforms, including car spy Show Kia’s updated Picanto is set to receive a makeover inspired by the upcoming Kia EV9 seven-seat electric SUV.
There are new headlights with a vertical look similar to the EV9 – as well as forthcoming facelifts for the seven-seat Sorento SUV and the Carnival people mover – as part of what appears to be a new front bumper.
The machined alloy wheels are also new, while there is a new rear bumper. The taillights are also being revised – but it’s unclear if they’ll inherit the EV9’s curved look or if more conventional units will be adopted, similar to today’s model.
Photographers have yet to catch a glimpse of the updated Picanto’s interior.
It’s unclear if it would adopt the latest screens and features from other Hyundai and Kia cars – or if these would be deemed too expensive for the Picanto’s budget showroom role.
Kia Australia has committed to keeping the entry price of a Picanto below $20,000 “as long as possible”.
It also remains to be seen if the 2023 update will introduce new safety technology overseas – or if Australia will gain access to a full range of advanced safety aids available in international markets.
The Kia Picanto currently sold in Australia comes standard with Autonomous Emergency Braking, but foregoes Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert available in Europe and South Korea.
Overseas, the Picanto is also available with automatic climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, support for a Kia Connect smartphone app, a sunroof and a driver’s knee airbag (in addition to the six airbags already standard here).
No upgrades are expected to the 1.2-litre non-turbo four-cylinder engines or the 1.0-litre turbo-charged three-cylinder engines as they already meet the latest European emissions regulations – and any upgrades would be costly.
the 2024 Kia Picanto facelift will be released in Australian showrooms in the second half of this year. Prices will be confirmed shortly before launch.
As previously reported, based on the typical six-year lifecycles of Kia models, the Picanto would be replaced by an all-new model in 2023, as the current car went on sale in 2017.
However, Kia is prioritizing another facelift instead – for now – as city car sales tumble globally and tough 2025 emissions regulations in the Picanto’s main market, Europe, threaten the future of affordable, petrol-powered small cars.
Production of the Kia Picanto in South Korea – where Australian cars are sourced – totaled about 120,000 cars in the first 10 months of 2022, up from 165,000 and 177,000 in the same periods in 2019 and 2017, respectively.