Kia has unveiled a dual-fuel version of the Picanto at the Frankfurt motor show, known as the Picanto LPG. The diminutive city car is designed to capitalise on a growing thirst in Europe for “small cars with low running costs and low emissions”.
The Kia Picanto LPG promises to be cheaper to run than its petrol-only equivalents. A specially modified three-cylinder Kappa petrol manages 50.44mpg with the ISG automatic stop/start equipped. Without, it’ll delivery 48.7mpg. Engine output and torque are 67PS and 90Nm, respectively.
Those fuel figures may seem much lower than the 67.3mpg you can get from the standard 1.0-litre Picanto, but remember LPG costs about 50 per cent less to buy than petrol in the first place, which means you would need a petrol Kia that managed 134.6 miles per gallon to be comparable, assuming the initial cost of the car is the same.
The thirstier of the two Picanto LPGs offers CO2 emissions of 100g/km, with the stop/start-equipped Picanto LPG managing a slightly more impressive 97g/km.
Undoubtedly the trump card of the Kia Picanto LPG is its ability to use two fuels. This is made possible by the inclusion of two fuel tanks, a standard 35-litre petrol tank and a 27-litre pressurised LPG tank located where the spare wheel used to sit (you get a tyre mobility kit as a replacement).
The new Picanto also has two fuel systems – one of which basically turns liquid LPG into a gas by reducing its pressure by 0.7 Bar as it’s fed into the engine. Neat, eh?
Switching between the two fuel tanks is as easy as pressing a button on the dashboard, while a new instrument cluster with two fuel gauges (one for petrol, one for LPG) and two low-fuel warning lights makes it easy to keep tabs on both.
Kia has also seen fit to marginally improve the car’s aerodynamics, but virtually everything else is left unchanged.
“The Picanto is one of the most competitive vehicles in the ‘city car’ A-segment, delivering premium features at affordable prices and we anticipate that the new bi-fuel model will prove particularly popular in those European countries where LPG is readily available,” Kia vice president of marketing and product planning Benny Oeyen explained.
Just like the standard Picanto, the LPG will come in either a three and five-door flavour.
There’s no word on an exact price but Kia says to expect it to arrive initially in the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands Poland and Portugal.
Given the lower popularity of LPG in the UK compared with Europe, don’t hold your breath for a release in Blighty.
We’ll keep you posted.