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Say ‘Morning’ to the face-lifted Kia Picanto

A new design and an ADAS suite come standard

The latest update to the Picanto applies Kia's latest design language. PHOTO FROM KIA

Remember the cute little Kia Picanto? Well, it looks like someone woke it up in the middle of its beauty sleep, and it ended up with an irritated face for 2024.

Known as the Morning in its home market of South Korea, the hatchback has undergone a very heavy exterior facelift with its new “Opposites United” design language.

The EV9-inspired lighting works well if you're a fan of angry-looking cars. PHOTOS FROM KIA

For one, it looks like a baby EV9, down to the Star Map signature LED lighting with a revised tiger-nose grille and front bumper. The side profile remains unchanged, but it gains a whole new set of two-tone wheel options, ranging between 14-16 inches in size. Toward the rear, there is also a lightbar and a slightly modified bumper.

Want an angrier Picanto? Kia will provide. PHOTOS FROM KIA

Of course, you have the option for the sportier and more pissed-off-looking GT-Line variant, which features a more aggressive front bumper, a rear diffuser, and diamond-cut 16-inch wheels. It also comes in 10 different color options.

The cabin remains mostly unchanged, which isn't a bad thing. PHOTOS FROM KIA

On the other hand, the cabin gets milder changes. It’s available either with fabric or leather upholstery, in black, brown or green color schemes.

It has conveniences like heated front seats and steering wheel (oddly, the driver seat is also ventilated), automatic climate control, USB-C ports for the front and rear rows, and the option for a sunroof and a wireless charger.

Connected services and screens everywhere, all par for the course among modern cars. PHOTOS FROM KIA

The updates are tech-heavy, with a brand-new tombstone-style eight-inch touchscreen with a voice assistant and smartphone integration, a new digital gauge cluster, and the Kia Connect services, which will allow one to check the vehicle’s status and location, pre-cool the cabin, and unlock or lock the car remotely.

It also has a fully featured ADAS suite, a rarity for a small hatchback. PHOTOS FROM KIA

The car also has a full suite of advanced driver aids like forward-collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, and hill-start assist.

Finally, it comes with two engine choices: a 1.0-liter or 1.2-liter gasoline engine mated to a five-speed manual or an automated manual transmission. It also gains torque vectoring by braking and electronic stability control.

While Kia Philippines no longer offers the hatchback, there is still a slight possibility that the distributor will bring it back as it plans to launch at least four new vehicles by next year. Our fingers are crossed.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.