Kia has launched their new Picanto supermini, charged with establishing Kia as a producer of ‘youthful, sporty and friendly’ cars.

The new Picanto is said to offer class-leading packaging, low emissions and low cost-of-ownership.

Paul Williams, Managing Director, Kia Motors UK said: “Kia has shown with the Sorento and Sedona that it can bring products to market which challenge the very best available in terms of value, specification, quality and styling. The Picanto will meet the needs of a new and younger customer base for Kia and take the brand to new heights in the UK. The Picanto is a modern European-focused design, that offers an involving driving experience coupled with high specifications and prices not previously seen for this style of car.”

On sale from 25th May, the Picanto is available as both a four-seater and a five-seater, with a choice of two petrol engines and manual or automatic transmission (1.1-litre only). A 1.1-litre diesel engine will be introduced in 2005.

The 1.0-litre pushes out 60bhp and achieves 57.6mpg on the combined cycle, while the only marginally more powerful 1.1-litre produces 64bhp and manages 54.3mpg.

Prices start at £5,495 for the 1.0GS, rising to £6,995 for the range-topping 1.1SE.

All models feature all-round disc brakes, ABS with EBD, central locking, electric front windows, tinted glass and CD/MP3 player.  All models except the base 1.0GS have air conditioning.