Kia Picanto 3dr: here’s looking at you, GTI

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Kia Picanto 3dr
Kia Picanto 3dr

No guesses as to which famous hot hatch Kia is mimicking with the new Picanto 3-door – because it’s perfectly clear that red stripe around the grille has come from images of the Golf GTI stuck to the mood boards in designer Peter Schreyer’s office.

For the few who may still be in doubt, Kia’s offered an extra clue too – pepperpot-style alloy wheels, looking again just like the rims on the world’s best all-around hot hatch.

Why? Because Kia wants to give the new Picanto 3-door a sporty image from the off, and there’s no better way of doing that than to reference the greats. The shape of the fog lamps? The hexagon pattern of the plastic mesh air intakes? Twin chrome exhaust tailpipes? If the Golf GTI had a city car brother and all that: Schreyer’s past life at Volkswagen has been put to very good use here.

It may seem like super-stretching things to mimic the Golf GTI, given how the biggest engine offered in the Kia is a 1.25-litre whose output is beaten by the VW 2.5 times over, but hey: look at it. You can’t deny it’s effective, can you?

Kia can do this because there has never been a Picanto 3-door. There’s no baggage to lug around – and, as the new 5-door has already cleared memories of the boxy old one, so Kia can start positioning the 3-door model exactly where it wants to.

Kia Picanto 3dr #2
Kia Picanto 3dr #2

All of which leads to one obvious conclusion: when is the hot one due, Kia? The rorty, scrabbling rival to the Renaultsport Twingo 133 Cup? If you want a car to help drive on your brand image, a car like that would do so brilliantly and needn’t cost you a fortune to develop, either.

After all, you’ve teased us with the sporty-look standard car and got us onto the subject of Golf GTIs and hot hatch legends. Surely you can’t let us down now, can you?

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