Kia Motors Corp. officials believe the revised ’07 Picanto will help the popular minicar retain its sales leadership position in world markets over the next few years, a company spokesman tells Ward’s.

“Our Picanto is already a top seller in its segment in most markets,” he says. “We look to retain our competitive position with the upgraded ’07 model being introduced at the Barcelona Motor Show on June 7.”

The ’07 Picanto retains its three previously available engine options, including a 1.1L 3-cyl. CRDi turbodiesel that generates average fuel economy of 56 mpg (4.2 L/100 km) when mated to a 5-speed manual transmission.

The diesel-version Picanto was introduced in Europe at the end of 2005 and now will be offered in other as-yet-undisclosed markets.

The ’07 Picanto also retains its 1.0L and 1.1L gasoline engines rated at 60 hp and 65 hp, respectively.

An antilock braking system with ventilated front disc brakes is standard, while electronic stability control is optional. A new electric-assisted rack and pinion steering system, previously available only on diesel-version Picantos, replaces the previous engine-powered system.

The ’07 Picanto’s new entertainment system is supplied by Hyundai Autonet and is similar in functionality to the Kia Cee’d’s audio system, supplied by Siemens AG.

The instrument panel has been dressed up with orange backlit gauges, similar to the Cee’d’s.

The new minicar loses some of its previous boxiness and has a more youthful, rounded look, with sideview mirrors now featuring turn indicator lights. A wider grille has twin horizontal chromed bars that support the central Kia badge.

The revised Picanto is just 1.6 ins. (4 cm) longer than its predecessor, with an overall length of 139 ins. (353 cm). The wheelbase remains the same at 93 ins. (237 cm).

The sales target for the new Picanto is “more than 130,000 units overseas in each of the next few years and more than 90,000 annually in Europe within a few years,” the spokesman says.

Last year, Kia delivered 130,168 Picantos worldwide, of which 83,202 were sold in Europe.

About 400,000 Picantos have been produced since 2004.