Only one new car left under $20,000 drive-away mark with 2024 Kia Picanto price rise

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Just one new model remains in the sub-$20,000 drive-away category after price rises for the new-look Kia Picanto – previously Australia’s cheapest new car – pushed it above the threshold.

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South Korean model pictured.

There is just one new car left on sale in Australia priced from less than $20,000 drive-away – and only by $10 – following a price rise for the Kia Picanto.

The facelifted Picanto city hatch in Kia showrooms now brings a new look, updated interior, and a selection of new advanced safety features not seen before at a car of this price in Australia.

However it is been hit with price rises of $1800 to $2100 drive-away – and it is now priced from $20,690 drive-away with a manual transmission, up from $18,890 drive-away previously – information shared with dealers shows.

It means the MG 3 automatic city hatch from China is the final new car available in Australia for less than $20,000 drive-away.

South Korean model pictured.

It holds onto the title by only $10 – as it is priced from $19,990 drive-away after five price increases in two years – and the new model due next year is set to be more expensive.

Three of the four Kia Picanto models available are still priced less than $20,000 before on-road costs – but these are mandatory charges such as stamp duty, registration and third-party insurance which buyers can not avoid paying.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, buyers could choose from more than 60 vehicles across 19 models and 14 manufacturers – including Fiat, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Toyota – for less than $20,000 plus on-road costs.

Rising costs of vehicle manufacturing and shipping – as costly advanced safety technology and crash structure upgrades needed in new models to achieve top marks in independent safety testing – have driven up prices.

Budget-priced models from car makers such as Suzuki and Mitsubishi have also been dropped as they do not meet stringent new safety regulations.

When the current-generation Kia Picanto arrived in Australia in 2017 it was priced from $14,190 plus on-road costs; today it is $17,890 plus on-road costs, an increase of $3700, offset by more equipment.

The price rises for Kia’s smallest car coincide with a facelift which brings restyled front and rear fascias inspired by the EV9 electric SUV, revisions to the interior, and a longer list of features.

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It includes the standard fitment of lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert – items not standard on a base-model Kia Cerato hatch at $28,290 drive-away, and previously not available on any Kia Picanto in Australia.

To reflect its higher standard equipment level, the cheapest Kia Picanto is now badged as the Sport, rather than S.

Full details of the updated Picanto are due to be confirmed by Kia Australia in the coming weeks, however prices and certain specifications have been published on third-party new-vehicle database Redbook.

Also standard on the new Picanto Sport are alloy wheels, synthetic leather-look steering wheel and gear shifter trim, LED rear fog lights, digitised speed and rpm read-outs – replacing analogue instruments, and in addition to a 4.2-inch driver display – and power-folding side mirrors.

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It is expected the autonomous emergency braking system will be upgraded to detect pedestrians and cyclists – and prevent collisions turning across traffic in intersections – but this is yet to be confirmed.

As previously reported by Drive, Kia plans to submit the updated Picanto for a new round of ANCAP safety testing, as its current four-star crash-test score – derived from less stringent test criteria in place at the time – is scheduled to expire at the end of this year.

The better-equipped GT-Line gains LED headlights for 2024 – plus new-design 16-inch alloy wheels and body styling – in addition to its leather-look seat trim and LED daytime-running lights from the previous model.

There may be further unique features to the GT-Line – including safety systems – which are not listed in the initial specifications published so far.

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In the outgoing model line-up, the GT-Line was the top seller, accounting for about 55 per cent of sales – ahead of the S (about 40 per cent), and the GT (about 5 per cent, all figures rounded).

As previously reported, the top-of-the-range Picanto GT turbo model has been dropped – both in Australia and overseas – due to low demand.

All models are now powered by the same 1.25-litre non-turbo four-cylinder engine developing 62kW and 122Nm, matched with five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions.

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Claimed fuel economy has increased slightly, now 5.4 litres per 100km for manual variants (up from 5.0L/100km), and 6.0L/100km for the automatics (up from 5.8L/100km).

Adventurous Green and Sporty Blue join the colour palette, while Honey Bee Yellow previously offered on the S has been deleted.

Full details of the 2024 Kia Picanto are due to be formally announced by the South Korean car maker in the coming weeks. The first examples are in dealerships now.

2024 Kia Picanto Australian pricing

  • Picanto Sport manual – $20,690 drive-away (up $1800 over S manual) / $17,890 plus on-road costs (up $1600)
  • Picanto Sport auto – $21,690 drive-away (up $1800 over S manual) / $19,490 plus on-road costs (up $1600)
  • Picanto GT-Line manual – $22,490 drive-away (up $2100) / $19,690 plus on-road costs (up $1950)
  • Picanto GT-Line auto – $23,490 drive-away (up $2100) / $21,290 plus on-road costs (up $1950)

Note: All prices above exclude on-road costs.

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2024 Kia Picanto Sport standard features expected to include:

  • 14-inch alloy wheels (new, replacing 14-inch steel wheels with hubcaps)
  • Dusk-sensing halogen headlights
  • LED rear fog lights (new)
  • 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless/wired Android Auto, Bluetooth, AM/FM radio
  • Digitised instrument cluster (new) with 4.2-inch display
  • Six-speaker sound system (four speakers, two tweeters)
  • Air conditioning
  • Cloth seat upholstery
  • Six-way manually-adjustable driver’s seat
  • Synthetic leather-look steering wheel, gear knob wrapping (new, previously GT-Line only)
  • One USB-A port and one 12-volt socket
  • Rear-view camera with dynamic guidelines
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Power-folding side mirrors (new)
  • Six airbags (including front-centre)
  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Lane-departure warning (new)
  • Lane-keep assist (new)
  • Blind-spot monitoring with braking (new)
  • Rear cross-traffic alert with braking (new)
  • Cruise control
  • Power front and rear windows (including auto up/down on driver’s door)

2024 Kia Picanto GT-Line expected to add (over Sport):

  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • LED headlights (new)
  • LED daytime-running lights
  • Synthetic leather-look seat trim with contrasting accents
  • Sliding front-centre armrest
  • GT-Line exterior styling
  • Heated side mirrors

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020.

Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines at a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

Read more about Alex MisoyannisLinkIcon

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