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The 2024 Kia Picanto is Kia’s most affordable SUV because, for one reason, it’s small. Smaller types of cars from automakers outside of the U.S. are usually not part of its U.S. portfolio of vehicles. That’s because, in the past, they have not sold well. But that is slowly changing due to higher prices overall, a desire to be less invested in an expensive vehicle or an 87-month car loan, and other cultural touchstones. 

This is why the timing may be right for Kia to take a stab and send the Picanto to the U.S., which it currently has no plans to do. The Picanto is an offshoot of the subcompact Hyundai i10. And it differs from its sibling in several ways, not the least of which is the exterior. Most of the body panels are unique to their respective makers, with the Picanto being more aggressive-looking. 

Is the Kia Picanto the same as a Hyundai i10?

Green 2024 Kia Picanto SUV in studio
2024 Kia Picanto SUV | Kia

Especially the fascia is almost too aggressive for such a small SUV. The headlights wrap up the sides of the hood almost to the A-pillars. But every panel, from the doors to the rear quarters, and even how the C-pillar transitions into the doors, is unique between the two small SUVs. 

At the rear, it is a similar story. The taillights of the i10 are much more conservative than the Picanto’s large vertical lights. They tie together by a wide strip of red taillight running below the full width of the lift-up tailgate window. And the faux rear skid plate features three diffuser veins on either side of the license plate recess.

What powers the Kia Picanto?

Black 2024 Kia Picanto SUV interior
2024 Kia Picanto SUV | Kia

Inside, it is disappointingly more sedate, with two screens. One is directly facing the driver, while a standup second screen is in the middle of the dash for access by both the driver and passenger. The seats and door panels seem as though they’re straight out of a mid-90s Nissan Sentra. Maybe we’re only looking at a base interior package in the one image available.

No drivetrains have been revealed, but the current Picanto, of which this is a refresh, sports a 1.0-liter engine tuned to either 66 hp for the base model or 99 hp for the upper-end models. 

Why won’t the Picanto be sold in the U.S.?

2024 Kia Picanto SUV headlights
2024 Kia Picanto SUV | Kia

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Kia says the Picanto extends its new design language continuing what we’ve already seen on its Sportage, Niro, and EV9. Yes, the front end is a bit over the top, but that’s what these smaller commuter car-like creations need. They’re supposed to be fun and nimble, with an emphasis on fun. 

We’d like to see Kia take a stab at offering the Picanto on our soil. Indicators portend a changing automotive landscape of mostly overpriced EVs. Here’s a price warrior that’s a gas sipper, versatile, and looks like a blast to drive.