Australian fans of the funky hatch remain in limbo, however, with Kia Australia still working hard to convince Korea to introduce the Picanto locally.
Kia Australia’s Kevin Hepworth said securing Picanto was “still a work in progress”.
“We certainly have not given up on it. Every time we go to head office we put the request in for it,” Mr Hepworth said.
Despite a few setbacks, he said the response from Korea had not been completely negative.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s just a reasonably long tunnel. There is still some sort of hope.“We would love to see it in Australia, sooner rather than later.”
Mr Hepworth said he expected the all-new three-door Kia Rio to go on sale in Australia in January, and while that model will fill a similar role in Australia, he said it would not negate the potential of Picanto for our market.
The Kia Picanto three-door adopts the sharp styling of the all-new model, which was revealed in five-door form at the beginning of this year.
The three-door body style is new to the global Picanto line-up. Previously, since its launch in 2004, the Picanto was only available as a five-door hatch.
Kia explains the introduction of the three-door Picanto was a crucial step to remain competitive in the booming city car segment. Kia says by 2015, the global market for compact three-doors will be around one million units, with Europe leading the charge.
The Picanto three-door maintains much of the practicality of the five-door model, but adds a special coupe flair.
Structurally, the cars are identical from the A-pillar forward. Stylistically, the grille opening is larger and incorporates either silver or GTI-style red surrounds. The front bumper has also been revised to give the car a wider, lower appearance.
The profile is the most obvious change, with longer doors and a dramatic crease line cutting through the door handle.
A black rear bumper insert and twin chrome exhaust pipes further enhance the sporting nature of the three-door model over the five-door.
The two body styles share the same dimensions, meaning interior space and crash safety is identical in the three-door.
At least initially in the UK, the Kia Picanto three-door will only be available with two petrol engines, meaning there is no diesel option.
The 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine produces 51kW and 95Nm, and uses 4.2 litres/100km of fuel on the combined cycle.
The 1.25-litre four-cylinder unit makes 63kW and 121Nm of torque. Available in manual, automatic and fuel efficient ‘EcoDynamics’ models, the larger engine uses between 4.3 litres/100km and 5.3 litres/100km combined.
The entry-level model in the UK comes equipped with height-adjustable seat, tilt-adjustable steering wheel, and a four-speaker audio system with AUX/USB/iPod connectivity.
Mid-spec Halo models get premium features like heated front seats and steering wheel, reverse parking sensors, alloy pedals and a unique instrument panel layout.
The top-spec Equinox (pictured) comes with red Chilli upholstery, high-gloss black panel inserts, 15-inch alloy wheels, climate control, six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth with voice recognition, LED daytime running lights and LED brake lights and smart key with start/stop button.
What do you think of the new Picanto three-door? Would you like to see it get the green light for Australia? Let us know in the comments section below.