The Kia Picanto is sitting pretty in Australia, with more than 80 per cent market share in its segment.

    Not every market is as much of a cakewalk for the diminutive Kia though, so it’s getting a modest nip-and-tuck. Kia Australia has confirmed it should land here in the third quarter of this year.

    The Korean Car Blog shared these leaked images of the facelifted Morning, as the Picanto is known in South Korea.

    The “tiger nose” grille has been speared by a horizontal chrome strip, while the daytime running lights now feature four LED lighting elements framing the central projector.

    The lower grille keeps a similar shape to the current model, though the fog light surrounds have a different shape.

    Around back, the changes are subtler still. The LED taillights look much the same as those on the GT, though the rear bumper appears to be mildly tweaked. There are new wheels, too.

    The press photos show what looks to be a high-specification Morning, which may mean lower-end Picantos will keep their non-LED taillights.

    The Picanto has just two segment rivals in Australia following the demise of the Holden Spark.

    Kia Picanto facelift leaked

    Though it outsells the second best-selling micro car, the Mitsubishi Mirage (above), by almost 10-to-1, the Mitsubishi’s recently received a facelift of its own and threatens to claw back some market share.

    Meanwhile, in Europe, micro car demand remains strong but automakers are struggling to keep them profitable as European Union emissions standards demand they be fitted with new technology.

    Rivals like the Fiat 500 and Panda and Suzuki Ignis have added mild-hybrid variants to help meet these requirements, though Kia has yet to offer such a model.

    The Picanto also faces stiff competition from a corporate cousin, the Hyundai i10, which was redesigned just last year.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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