2012 Kia Morning/Picanto: First Official Images

2012 Kia Morning/Picanto: First Official Images

kia morning 1 2012 Kia Morning/Picanto: First Official ImagesKia pulled a surprise move today and released the first official images of the redesigned Picanto (Morning in the Korean market) hatchback today. The all-new minicar is set to go on sale in its home market of South Korea later this month, ahead of its European debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show in March.

kia morning 2 2012 Kia Morning/Picanto: First Official ImagesHeading into its second-generation, the new Kia Picanto is a stylistically more aggressive evolution of its more mundane predecessor. The front end is definitely a tribute to the Venga MPV, but the most noteworthy element of the design is its protruding front bumper. The large air intakes that fill the bumper evoke thoughts of the Mazda2’s controversial smiley face, and we don’t know if that’s necessarily a good association. The corporate grille could be a tad larger in our opinion, as it seems to have been dwarfed by what’s going on below. The side and the rear fascia are easier on the eyes, and we especially like the unique treatment of the taillights (remember the Carens/Rondo?) as well as the protruding rear bumper design.

Spec-wise, Kia has not revealed much information for the new Picanto. The automaker did mention features like dual projection headlamps with LED positioning lights, a rarity for the subcompact segment the car plays in. As well, it will be powered by an all-new 1.0-liter Kappa engine that is expected to achieve impressive fuel economy.

Stay tuned for more information and images as they become available.

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