Rugged looks, turbocharged engine

The Kia Picanto came to be in 2003 when it was launched on a shortened platform of the Hyundai Getz. Redesigned in 2011, it grew in size and shared underpinnings with the then-new Hyundai i10. Another update followed in 2015, but 2017 brought the significantly modified third-generation model. About half a year has passed since the new Picanto arrived and Kia just introduced a new model, the X-Line.

A range-topping model alongside the performance-oriented GT-Line, the X-Line is a crossover-inspired model in the vein of the larger Volkswagen Cross Polo and Cross Golf, and the Hyundai i20 Active. Modifications include a slightly higher ride height, black cladding on the wheel arches, and a few extra features compared to the standard model. The X-Line also introduces the new turbocharged 1.0-liter engine that will also motivate the GT-Line version.

Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Picanto X-Line.

  • 2018 Kia Picanto X-Line
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    99
  • Torque @ RPM:
    127
  • Displacement:
    1.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    10.1 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    8.5/10

Exterior

2018 Kia Picanto X-Line High Resolution Exterior
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The X-Line is actually a standard Picanto with a few extra features

Kia describes the Picanto X-Line as a crossover-inspired hatchback and says the new model draws inspiration from popular SUVs like the Sportage and Sorento. As fancy as it may sound, this statement isn’t exactly accurate, as the X-Line is actually a standard Picanto with a few extra features.

The 156-mm (6.1 inches) ride height, which is 15-mm (0.6 inches) higher than the regular Picanto, is what makes the X-Line a crossover-inspired vehicle, but that extra half-inch is barely noticeable. On the flipside, the black cladding around the wheel arches and the metal-look skid plates front and rear add a bit of ruggedness to the small hatchback.

Setting it further apart from the standard Picanto are the Lime Green fog lamp surrounds and grille inserts

Setting it further apart from the standard Picanto are the Lime Green fog lamp surrounds and grille inserts, which provide a strong contrast with most exterior colors. However, if you’re looking for a more subdued appearance, these highlights can be had in silver. The X-Line also comes equipped with LED daytime running lights and fog lamps, as well as 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels.

Everything else is standard equipment, but it’s worth pointing out the current Picanto is as fresh as they get, having been launched in 2016. Changes are significant compared to the previous model, while the front and rear fascias have a sportier look.

Standard Kia Picanto vs. Kia Picanto X-Line

2018 Kia Picanto X-Line High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Kia Picanto High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Kia Picanto X-Line High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Kia Picanto High Resolution Exterior
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Interior

2018 Kia Picanto X-Line High Resolution Interior
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Unlike the exterior, the interior is the same as in the standard model

Unlike the exterior, the interior is the same as in the standard model. As a reminder, the new Picanto came with a higher quality interior and a dashboard that has a cleaner design and features a satin chrome-effect strip that runs across the width between the instrument cluster and the passenger door panel. A new, seven-inch touchscreen sits above in a "floating" position that has become popular with several carmakers, while two A/C vents have been placed below. The center console is more useful now, featuring just the A/C controls in addition to a large storage compartment and the gear shifter.

The seats have been redesigned for enhanced comfort, and although they are wrapped in cloth as standard, they can be ordered in contrast artificial leather with white, blue, orange, red, or Lime Green stitching. The seating position is similar to the regular Picanto, so don’t expect the raised stance you get in crossovers.

In the tech department, the X-Line comes with the same seven-inch touchscreen with navigation system and a 3D map

The new Picanto also offers more legroom and headroom than its predecessor, and if we are to believe the company’s PR, it’s also roomier than best-selling rivals in the A-segment. There’s no word on whether you can choose between the four- and five-seat configuration as in the standard Picanto, but it’s safe to assume that both layouts are available. The hatchback also comes with a first-in-class feature in the form of a central armrest for front passengers that can slide back and forth up to 55 mm (2.1 inches). The armrest covers a small storage compartment designed to accommodate a one-liter water bottle or a sunglasses case.

In the tech department, the X-Line comes with the same seven-inch touchscreen with navigation system and a 3D map, while the options list includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rear-view parking camera, wireless smartphone charges, and USB port.

Trunk space has increased from 200 to 255 liters (seven to nine cubic feet) with the rear seat up, which is more than any other car in this class.

Drivetrain

2018 Kia Picanto X-Line High Resolution Exterior
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Unlike the standard Picanto, the X-Line is offered with the turbocharged 1.0-liter engine only

Unlike the standard Picanto, which is available with a naturally aspirated 1.0-liter, a 1.25-liter four-cylinder, and the new-for-2017 1.0-liter turbo, the X-Line is offered with the latter engine only. This new T-GDI unit cranks out 100 PS and 172 Nm of torque (99 horsepower and 127 pound-feet) and it’s the most powerful engine ever fitted in the small hatchback.

The sprint from 0 to 62 takes 10.1 seconds with this unit, and although it’s not the kind of performance you get with a sports car, it’s significantly quicker than the other drivetrain options. This configuration is actually identical to the one that comes with the sports-inspired Picanto GT-Line.

The new engine is efficient too, needing only 4.5 liters per 100 km. CO2 emissions are rated at 104 grams per km.

Although it’s crossover-inspired, the Picanto X-Line has no additional modification to the chassis and driveline, so don’t expect enhanced off-road performance.

Safety

2018 Kia Picanto X-Line
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In the safety department, the Picanto X-Line is by far the safest A-segment car Kia has ever built

In the safety department, the Picanto X-Line is by far the safest A-segment car Kia has ever built. With 44 percent of its body shell now cast in Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS), the vehicle is 22-percent stronger. This construction technique also reduces body-in-white weight by 23 kg (50.7 pounds), in addition to improving tensile strength by 12 percent. Overall, static torsional stiffness has been improved by 32 percent.

Standard safety equipment includes six airbags — front, front and side, and curtains — while the knee airbag is optional. Active safety features include Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), which ensures stability under braking and cornering by detecting a loss in traction and using ESC to help the driver keep the car on course. In addition, the X-Line can be ordered with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System.

Prices

2018 Kia Picanto X-Line
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2018 Kia Picanto X-Line
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Pricing for the Picanto X-Line is not yet available, but it’s safe to assume that it will cost a bit more than the standard model. Actually, with specifications similar to the range-topping GT-Line, there’s a big chance that the X-Line will become the most expensive model in the range. Expect the X-Line to cost at least £13,000 before options. This model is set to go on sale across Europe from the fourth quarter of 2017.

Competition

The idea of a slightly jacked-up small hatchback isn’t exactly new. Volkswagen already did it with the Cross Golf and Cross Polo, while Hyundai released a similar version of the i20, called the i20 Active. However, the Cross Golf is no longer in production, while the new-generation Polo has yet to spawn a crossover-inspired model. This leaves us with only the Hyundai i10 and the rumored Polo-based crossover that should be launched for the 2019 model year.

Hyundai i20 Active

2016 Hyundai i20 Active High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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2016 Hyundai i20 Active High Resolution Exterior
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The i20 is actually bigger than the Picanto. While the latter shares underpinnings with the i10, the i20 is Hyundai’s version of the Kia Rio. So it’s not exactly a fair comparison, but it’s the only option you got if all you want is a small hatchback on stilts. But other than the size, the package is similar, as the standard model received crossover-like cladding and a few extra features that make it look more rugged and capable. Being larger, it also offers enhanced legroom and trunk space. Juice comes from the same 1.0-liter turbo in the Picanto, but it’s rated at 98 horsepower and 126 pound-feet in the i20 Active. A more powerful version that cranks out 118 horses and 126 pound-feet is also available. Other options include a 1.4-liter gasoline that’s good for 98 horses and 99 pound-feet and a 1.4-liter diesel rated at 89 horsepower. Pricing starts from 13,995.

Read our full review of the Hyundai i20 Active.

Volkswagen Polo SUV

2019 Volkswagen Polo SUV
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2019 Volkswagen Polo SUV
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This vehicle is still a prototype as of this writing and all we know is that Volkswagen is using a Polo hatchback as a mule. Not much is known at this point, but it should become the company’s smallest crossover-like model yet and probably replace both the Cross Polo and Cross Golf. Expect similar cladding on the wheel arches and a few extra features inside and out. Power will most likely come from the company’s small-displacement engines. Likely candidates are the 1.0-liter rated at 93 horsepower, the 1.0-liter TSI with 108 horses, and the 1.4-liter TSI that generates 147 horsepower. Pricing should be similar, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Volkswagen put a higher sticker on this car, probabil around the 14,500 mark.

Read our speculative review of the Volkswagen Polo SUV.

Conclusion

2018 Kia Picanto X-Line High Resolution Exterior
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While it doesn’t make much sense at first glance, the Picanto X-Line will give Kia access to a slightly different niche. Granted, it won’t be a high seller and won’t do much to move the Picanto higher in the market sales-wise, but it will give customers who want a slightly higher ride height with their tiny hatchback a solid option. The X-Line’s main advantage is that it doesn’t have a competitor, but buyers that are willing to spend a bit more have access to a couple of larger crossovers.

  • Leave it
    • * Extra ride height isn’t that high
    • * Needs more extra features

Press release

Kia has announced details of the all-new crossover-inspired Picanto X-Line ahead of its public debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA). Following its premiere on 12 September, the new addition to the Picanto range goes on sale across Europe from the start of Q4 2017.

2018 Kia Picanto X-Line High Resolution Exterior
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The all-new X-Line variant further broadens the appeal of the Picanto, Kia’s smallest car, combining all of its best qualities with a new look which draws inspiration from Kia’s popular crossover and SUV model lines, including the Sportage and Sorento. The rugged design is highlighted by contrast colour packs and raised ground clearance (to 156mm, 15mm higher than the standard Picanto), which also gives the driver a clearer view of the road ahead. The new derivative benefits from Kia’s 1.0-litre T-GDI (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) engine, making it the most powerful Picanto ever.

Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer for Kia Motors Europe, commented: “We launched the new Picanto in Europe earlier this year and it is already outselling its predecessor. Year-on-year, Picanto sales in the first half of 2017 grew 23% to 31,827 units, and globally it is one of our best-selling vehicles. The all-new X-Line will add to that momentum.”

Design gives the Picanto SUV attitude
While the new Picanto featured a bold and energetic design when it was launched earlier this year, the all-new X-Line variant introduces a series of rugged new design cues. Incorporating Kia’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille, the X-Line boasts more imposing, SUV-style bumpers with metal-look skidplates at the front and rear, for a more confident and go-anywhere appearance. Unique to the X-Line model, the grille and fog lamp surrounds are finished with lime green highlights (silver highlights are also available), while black cladding around the wheel arches enhances the visual effect of the raised ground clearance.

100 ps 1.0-litre T-GDI engine – the most powerful Picanto ever
The all-new Picanto X-Line is powered by Kia’s three-cylinder 1.0-litre T-GDI engine. Previously only available in the cee’d model family and new Rio, the lightweight, compact new engine is available with a Picanto variant for the first time.

2018 Kia Picanto X-Line High Resolution Exterior
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As well as offering high efficiency and low emissions, the lightweight nature of the new T-GDI engine perfectly suits the Picanto’s direct handling character. With minimal mass over the front axle, the more powerful engine ensures the Picanto remains fun to drive. The 1.0-litre T-GDI engine produces 100 ps at 4,500 rpm, and 172 Nm torque from 1,500 to 4,000 rpm. The most powerful engine yet to be offered on the Picanto, it allows the X-Line model to accelerate from 0-to-100 kph in 10.1 seconds. The new engine is capable of 4.5 L/100 km, with CO2 emissions from 104 g/km (combined, New European Driving Cycle).

The new 1.0-litre T-GDI engine is also being introduced to the sports-inspired Picanto GT-Line, with identical performance and power and torque outputs.

Third-generation Picanto: Quality, technology and versatility
The Picanto X-Line is fitted with many of the features available across the rest of the Picanto range, including 16-inch aluminium alloy wheels, aluminium pedals, LED daytime running lights and fog lamps, shark-fin antenna, and keyless entry. The large 7.0-inch ‘floating’ touchscreen HMI (human-machine interface) houses navigation with 3D maps, and Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ for full smartphone integration. A rear-view parking camera and wireless smartphone charger and USB port are also available on X-Line models. Like the Picanto GT Line, the Picanto X-Line is fitted as standard with a sporty D-cut steering wheel.

The new Picanto is the safest A-segment car Kia has ever made, featuring an Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) body construction and six standard airbags (front, front side and curtain airbags), and an optional knee airbag. Active safety features are also included, such as standard-fit Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), to ensure stability under braking and cornering. In addition, the new Picanto is available with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)* – a key technology adopted to enhance safety in urban environments.

The Picanto boasts class-leading cabin space, with more leg- and head-room than all other rivals in the A-segment. Boot capacity is 255 litres (VDA) – the most of any car in its class – with 60:40 split-folding rear seats, which can fold flat to increase capacity to 1,010 litres.

2018 Kia Picanto X-Line High Resolution Interior
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Kia Picanto X-Line on sale from fourth quarter of 2017
The Picanto is backed by Kia’s quality promise, and will be sold as standard with the company’s unique 7-Year, 100,000 mile warranty. The all-new Picanto X-Line goes on sale across Europe during the fourth quarter of 2017.

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