Kia teases new 2011 Picanto

The images are taken from the first official design sketches and as such will not accurately represent the finished car in the metal.

However, they do hint at a distinctive front end with chunky styling and a large grille, which moves away from the ‘cute’ looks often seen in the small urban car segment.

At the rear, the coupe-like roofline gives way to a design similar to the current generation, but noticeable differences include less angular lines and all-in-one rear lights instead of the current protruding rear lights.

These of course, could change in production models of the four-door city car when it finally makes the transition from design sketch to full production model.

It is a vastly different car from the Soul and Sportage crossover SUVs introduced by the Korean manufacturer over the past 12 months, but the design language under ex-Audi man Peter Schreyer is evident in the new Kia Picanto.

While the new model is still only a sketch, a full production model will be unveiled at Geneva in March 2011 and it will be available to buy in the UK shortly after.

Kia has named a launch date of late Spring 2011 for its city car offering, which replaces the current generation with Kia’s new design language after four years on the market.

Prices have not been announced by Kia, but they are expected to creep upwards for the budget city car, while still undercutting key rivals such as the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa.