Design & Technology / Product

The Kia Picanto Then and Now – A Design Transformation April 20th, 2012

We had a lot of interest in our Kia Rio Then and Now post, so we decided to take a second trip down memory lane, but this time in our one and only Picanto. Check out how this small city car grew to win over drivers across the globe, as well as judges for the 2012 red dot design award.

1999 (a.k.a. “Visto”)

Here it is folks – our very first Picanto, but it wasn’t called the Picanto just yet. It was commonly known as the Visto in the domestic Korean market, but was badged under the Hyundai brand with model names such as Amica, Atos Prime and Atoz for several overseas markets.


The 2000 edition got a bit heavier in weight, but still racked up an impressive 41.8 miles per gallon (US) and retained the same engine as the 1999 model.


You can start to see a little bit of today’s Picanto take shape here. This model still retained the same engine, but got lighter in weight, which increased its miles per gallon performance to 50.5.

2004 Picanto

Goodbye Visto, hello Picanto! The Picanto, known as the Kia Morning in the domestic Korean market, featured new styling, spacious interior and multiple engine options: 1.0 and 1.1 liter gasoline and a 1.1 liter diesel.


There was a major face lift in 2007 thanks to our design team who created a more prominent and rounded front and deeper rear bumper.


Kia Picanto’s lead designer laid down a strong design foundation and began to shape the car towards a recognizable Kia identity. The 2008 Picanto boasted a whole range of upgrades, especially in exterior styling with new front and rear bumpers, headlights, rear clusters, hood and electrically adjustable wing mirrors.



 In 2010, Peter Schreyer, Kia’s Chief Design Officer, began to put his design touches on the Picanto. Some additional styling changes gave the city car a fresher face with exterior enhancements including two-tone bumper and waistline body color molding. The Sports Pack edition featured the signature family-look Kia grille and sportier front/rear bumpers and side sill molding. It also became available in a new exciting Lime color and 15” black flower alloy wheels were offered as an option.

2011 – Present

The power to surprise continues with new and dramatic design changes. The present day All-new Picanto features overall proportion changes along with an extended wheelbase and greater passenger space to enhance comfort and a feeling of sportiness. The main concept and design theme is “distinct & modern,” which emphasizes sophisticated styling that has the power to turn people’s heads when they see the sporty city car drive past.

Learn More

Curious to learn more about the Picanto? Check out our previous postings:

What do you think?

We hope you enjoyed this edition of ‘Then and Now.’ Be sure to tell us what you think of the Picanto or what you would like to see in the future in the comments section below.

  • Beautiful. I like Kia. Nice design. Just a  perfect article and a decent understand! Thanks.

  • Mbowli03

    Please bring the Picanto to the US….

  • Motoringsaint

    When will Kia release a Cerato turbo?