Of late, Kia has been focusing all its marketing and publicity resources on the upcoming rear-wheel drive GT, which is possibly the brand’s most important launch in some time.

With that car set to hog attention at Detroit next week and for a few months after that, the South Korean carmaker has decided to give another model, the compact Picanto, its share of the limelight by releasing official images.

The third-generation Picanto, which is set to make its global debut at the Geneva motor show in March, is shown here in the sporty ‘GT-Line’ specification.

Penned jointly by Kia’s design centres in Namyang, Korea and Frankfurt, Germany, the new Picanto adds enough styling elements to it to differentiate it from its blander i10 cousin from sister brand Hyundai.

The signature Tiger Nose grille, and a highly detailed front bumper give it a distinctive personality. At 2,400mm, the new Picanto has a wheelbase that’s 15mm longer than the previous model, which, combined with the wider track and shorter front overhang lend the car a more assertive stance.

The increased wheelbase also results in more cabin and cargo space “than rivals in the segment.” The overall length of the car, however, remains the same at 3,595mm.

No details have been divulged about the powertrain, but we expect a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder to be under the engine bay of the GT Line, with naturally aspirated four-pots powering the base models. However, whether the turbocharged model will make its way here remains to be seen.

We’ll bring you more on that closer to its Geneva launch, after which it’s expected to go on sale in the third quarter of the year.

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