When you try to say everything, in the end you say nothing – targeting the best in class everywhere does not sell cars.

Pearls of wisdom from Kia Europe product manager Alper Celik as he explained how he believes the fully redesigned, third generation Picanto is the most valuable product in the A segment. The aim, he said, was not to try and be the best in class in every feature, only in the areas that matter to the customer.

Speaking at the launch of the new model in Barcelona he said that, when developing the new platform, engineers and designers looked at the priorities to “spend the money where it matters”. Kia research into the A segment discovered that 62% of buyers are women, 82% have no children at home, 70% use the car for the daily commute and for 33% it is their main vehicle.

Celik said: “Size is the key purchase reason while exterior style and value for money score highly. While other segments have increased in size over the past few years – C segment vehicles by up to 100mm, B segment up to 200mm, A segment cars have grown in average by just 20mm. We have kept the new Picanto the same length but improved interior space by shortening the front overhang and increasing the wheelbase.

“But the biggest customer complaint about small city cars is the lack of luggage space and we have been able to increase this by 25% over the outgoing model to 255 litres, which expands to over 1,000 litres with the rear seats folded – and this is the best in class.”

The latest Picanto, he added, also has more road presence so that passengers do not feel so intimidated by the ever increasing number of SUVs on the roads – wider grille, larger front intake, double wheelarch effect and lower belt line all help give an optical illusion of being larger and wider.

And with those female buyers in mind, the sun blind mounted mirror has been given “perfect ambient lighting by studying make up mirrors” (!)

A slightly more sombre presentation from David Labrosse, head of product planning at Kia’s European technical centre, explained the new platform is 28kg lighter than its predecessor thanks to the use of advanced, high strength steel and a massive increase in the use of structural adhesives, up from 7.8m to 67m. 

He added: “We also improved the turning circle and the steering is more direct thanks to an increase in steering gear ratio. Suspension has also been tuned to improve stability.”

Equipment upgrades include city braking, rear view camera, wireless phone charging along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Engine options are the three cylinder Kappa 1.0 litre with 67hp and 1.2 litre, four cylinder 84hp. The is also a turbo charged one litre in the new, sporty GT-line model.

The Picanto sits at number four in Kia’s top sellers list in Europe and will play a key role in getting the brand to its mid-term target of half a million vehicles in the region by 2018, said chief operating officer Michael Cole. This year he expects to reach 470,000 sales – a ninth consecutive year of growth.