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by Tim Beissmann

UPDATE January 25 with new engine details.

Kia has revealed the first official interior image of the all-new 2011 Kia Picanto light car ahead of its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The interior of the top-spec model (pictured above) benefits from significantly improved dash and trim material quality. Features include a multi-function steering wheel, climate control and heated seats.

Four powertrains will be available globally after the vehicle’s launch: three versions of a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine capable of running on petrol, flex fuel and bi-fuel; and a larger 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.

Power will range from 51kW to 63kW, while torque will peak at 94Nm and 121Nm, depending on variant. The 60kW/94Nm bi-fuel variant will achieve fuel economy between 4.2 and 5.9 litres/100km.

A 55kW/152Nm 1.1-litre CRDi diesel engine is also expected for European markets sometime after the Picanto’s launch.

Emissions are also set to drop dramatically, with average CO2 decreasing from 114-137g/km for the current model to 95-105g/km for the new model.

Kia has confirmed all European models will feature start-stop technology. Five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions will be available, depending on vehicle specification. Features on higher-spec models will include LED daytime running lights, smart key with push-button start and six or seven airbags, depending on region.

Kia Australia has confirmed its interest in the sub-Rio light car and its chief operating officer, Tony Barlow, last month admitted it was “certainly not off the agenda”.

The larger Kia Rio – which will be unveiled alongside the Picanto at Geneva – is Kia Australia’s small car priority, with that vehicle set to arrive in the third quarter of this year.

Introduction of the Picanto is expected to follow, most likely in late 2011 or 2012.




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