X edition to hit NZ market spot

Like the idea of a city car with crossover styling? That’s the Picanto X-Line.

RAISE the ride height, add some heavier-looking bumpers and a couple of silver skid plates and – presto, a compact city car becomes a chic little crossover that’s coming here.

Confirmation about the Picanto X-Line next year joining the regular versions of the petite town-centric runabout that have only recently launched locally has come from Kia New Zealand within hours of the parent revealing the car today.

In addition to its funky, crossover-emulating styling, the car has a turbocharged engine that delivers more power than the cars here now offer.

Kia Motors New Zealand cannot confirm a launch date for the derivative, which makes its full public debut at next week’s Frankfurt motor show and is on sale in Europe before year-end.

General manager Todd McDonald describes the X-Line as being an exciting model.

“We’re very much looking forward to seeing it join our Picanto line-up. We’ve had a very positive response to the new Picanto since it went on sale here and the SUV styling of the X-Line adds another dimension. It’s very much on trend.”

Picanto has just landed in three variants, an LX in $18,490 manual and $18,990 automatic formats plus a sports-styled GT Line auto for $21,490. All are powered by a naturally aspirated 4-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol engine and feature Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) as standard.

The new X-Line SUV spices up the formula with a more rugged body design that is highlighted by contrasting colour packs, along with raised ground clearance - now 156mm, or 15mm higher than the standard Picanto.

Incorporating Kia’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille, the X-Line boasts SUV-style bumpers with metal-look skid plates at the front and rear that give it a more confident and go-anywhere appearance. A unique grille and fog lamp surrounds are finished with lime green or silver highlights, while black cladding around the wheel arches enhances the visual effect of the raised ground clearance.

Although the model has no more off-road operational cred than the regular car, it does have more zip, benefiting from Kia’s 1.0-litre T-GDI (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) engine.

Outputs of 75kW at 4500 rpm and 172Nm of torque between 1500-4000rpm make it the most powerful Picanto engine yet. Kia claims it is also very frugal, capable of 4.5 L/100km in the combined New European Driving Cycle.

The Kia Picanto X-Line is fitted with many of the features available in other Picanto models, including 16-inch aluminium alloy wheels (GT Line), aluminium pedals, LED daytime running lights and fog lamps, keyless entry (GT Line), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Kia is using the show to provide a glimpse of a fastback hot hatch concept that it describes as a “bold vision for a potential member” of the next-generation of the Europe-only Cee’d small car family.