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First Look: Kia Picanto

Will Koreans bring city car to the States?

by on Dec.09, 2010

Set for Geneva debut, the Kia Picanto.

Fuel prices nudging $3 a gallon, new fuel economy standards that could push 62 mpg.  The headlines give plenty of reasons to wonder whether Kia has the U.S. market in mind as it releases the first sketches of its new Picanto city car.

So far, however, it appears the American market isn’t on the list of places where you’ll be able to buy what looks like a surprisingly slick addition to the Korean maker’s design-driven product revolution.  But, then again, Chevrolet had no plans to bring the new Spark to the States until it announced a sudden about-face.

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Set for launch in the British market during the second quarter of 2011, the Kia Picanto will make its formal debut at the Geneva Motor Show, late this winter.

What appears to be a three-door body uses a sharply-creased wedge design that bears the distinctive look and feel of Peter Schreyer.  The German stylist jumped to Kia, several years ago, to lead its distinctive design push.  Americans will get a good sense of what Schreyer’s touch is yielding with the upcoming launch of the 2011 Kia Optima.