The first two gen­er­a­tions cap­tured the hearts of lo­cal buy­ers. Will the new Pi­canto re­peat this feat?

Car (South Africa) - - TEST -

R195 995

W11,45 sec 61 kw/122 N.m 155 km/h here do you draw the line be­tween a to­tally new ve­hi­cle and a sub­stan­tial facelift? The Pi­canto, Kia’s lat­est ad­di­tion to the South African mar­ket, is a case in point. Kia calls it a new-gen­er­a­tion model and, cer­tainly from a de­sign point of view, it is exactly that with a nose, tail and ev­ery sin­gle body panel dif­fer­ent to its pre­de­ces­sor. With a larger tiger­nose grille, an­gu­lar front bumper and sharper head­lamp de­sign, Kia de­sign guru Peter Schreyer has given the Pi­canto a more ag­gres­sive ap­pear­ance. That said, changes to the rear lamp and bumper de­sign de­vi­ate less from those of the pre­vi­ous model. 6,0 L/100 km 116 g/km

Un­der the skin, the changes are more mi­nor. The Pi­canto shares its plat­form and engine line-up with the out­go­ing model. There­fore, at rst glance, all the new car ap­pears to of­fer is a fresh ex­te­rior/in­te­rior de­sign and an im­proved spec level. Well, not quite. For one thing, 44% of the new Pi­canto’s body is now com­posed of Ad­vanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) that, promises Kia, makes it more rigid. With a static tor­sional stiff­ness in­crease of 32%, it is safer, too. Then there are the changes to its di­men­sions. De­spite be­ing based on the pre­vi­ous car’s plat­form, Kia has fet­tled the mea­sure­ments and, while it may be the same length as the pre­vi­ous car, the wheel­base and rear over­hang have in­creased by 15 mm and 10 mm re­spec­tively, while the front over­hang has been short­ened by 25 mm. It’s also 5 mm taller, with ground clear­ance de­creased by 11 mm. In­side, the dash­board has been raised by 15 mm to of­fer more knee­room.

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