Kia Picanto offers more than expected

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The Kia Picanto – a car that travels firmly under the radar of other road users as it doesn’t have a badge to keep up with the Jones’ – a car that many will not even have heard of, despite being around for years – a car that is a firm contender in the city-car market.

Kia as a brand, alongside sister company Hyundai – have, in recent years, upped their game considerably with the style and quality of their cars, making them appeal to a much greater demographic yet retaining their huge reliability.

Yes ok – they may be a little more ‘hard wearing’ inside than some rivals but they are incredibly well screwed together and with a good design team, the lack of soft-touch materials is more than made up for with practically sculpted cabins.

Kia Picanto Interior

Kia’s Picanto is a car that has transformed from being as bland as drinking lukewarm milk to being a car that is affordably suitable – to be fair to it, the Picanto does what it says on the tin and in certain trim levels, looks absolutely bloody fantastic!

Being slightly bigger than before, this new car is unmistakably from the Korean stable of Kia – sharing more signature features of the brand than ever before making the Picanto stand out for once – I guess the added substance is now like drinking a Steamer than just lukewarm milk.

Two engines are available in the Picanto – both small petrol units – starting with the 1.0L which comes only with a manual gearbox and offers a rather uninspiring 66bhp with 71lb/ft – taking almost 14 seconds from 0-60mph with a claimed return of 64pmg.

A 1.25L is available with either a manual or automatic ‘box and produces a healthier 83bhp with 90lb/ft – the manual getting to 60mph in 11.6 seconds with the auto taking 13.2 seconds and a sign the auto set-up strains a little is the economy which is claimed at 51mpg with the manual claiming 61mpg.

The Picanto comes in five trim levels – starting from a very reasonable £9,450 with the ‘Picanto 1’ – available in 1.0L only and featuring more than most city-car owner’s demand with front electric windows, remote locking, USB & AUX ports, auto headlight and hill-start assists along with other usual safety features.

Side of Kia Picanto

A ‘picanto 2’ as tested – starts from £10,750 and is likely to be the most popular model – it can be ordered with either of the two engines and receives 14” alloy wheels, air conditioning, electric heated door mirrors, rear electric windows, Bluetooth streaming, body coloured features and a leather multi-function steering wheel.

Next up and you guessed it, the ‘Picanto 3’ sees a bit of a price jump as it starts from £12,650 but further adds autonomous emergency braking, 15” alloy wheels, automatic air con and a 7” touch-screen sat-nav with DAB Radio as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto alongside cruise control with speed limiter, reverse camera and front fog lamps – this model only comes with the 1.25L engine and choice of ‘box.

The final two models offer a sporting feel and look absolutely fantastic due to various details and trim added – both of which only come with the manual ‘box with the ‘Picanto GT-Line’ having the option of either engine whilst the ‘Picanto GT-Line S’ only comes with the larger 1.25L unit.

Main additions to the ‘GT-Line’which starts from £11,950 include 16” alloy wheels, sports bumpers with twin exhausts and extra colour coding outside along with black and red faux leather trim inside and privacy glass as well as LED lighting technology front and rear with bi-function projector headlights.

The ‘GT-Line S’ then adds the sat-nav with DAB Radio, auto air con, cruise control, parking sensors and wireless mobile phone charging along with headed front seats and steering wheel as well as a sunroof – this model starts from £13,950.

Kia Picanto Boot

This model tested – a ‘Picanto 2’ 1.0L with manual gearbox – proved incredibly spacious for the class it sits within and priced at £10,850 well within reach of many cash buyers, especially if considering an ex-demo or pre-reg model which would be somewhat cheaper.

Around town the Picanto absolutely excels and in many ways looks much better than many rivals such as Hyundai’s i10 and Skoda’s CitiGo – it would even give VW’s ‘up!’ a run for its money when it comes to spec, value and space.

With one of the largest boots in the class – a week’s shopping won’t be an issue and for a young owner, heading out with mates isn’t too much of a squeeze compared to rivals with enough room for a few sports bags in the boot for weekend pursuits.

As said before the 1.0L is a little gutless on anything but city driving and I definitely wouldn’t say this engine makes the Picanto a commuter car – however I imagine the 1.25L power-train would make it bearable as a car that could cope with a commute especially being so easily parked at your destination.

During my week with the Picanto, I ended up having to park in a reasonably tight multi-story car park for an hour and there was a space, tight enough space it was too, with a wall on one side that few would attempt to park in – the little Picanto rose to the challenge of this space with plenty of room to spare.

Rear of Kia Picanto

Also during my week, I done a bit of a spring clean in the house, as such there was a few large bin bags needing delivered to my local amenity site – again the Picanto, not-so-little this time, rose to the challenge as the boot absorbed all that was thrown into it, with relative ease.

Driving the Picanto is painless, safe-feeling and composed, without the major body-roll and unresponsive steering of the previous model – a good thing that I am sure will keep this car as a frim favourite around the globe.

With an almost unheard of nowadays warranty – covering 7 years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first) the Korean maker is as confident as ever with its cars – offering peace of mind for all owners.

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About Author

Graham is a professional photographer and motoring writer with over 15 varied years of coverage from manufacturer press launches to international motorsport and rally events throughout the world. Graham is a full member of the Guild of Motoring Writers. See more at grahamcurry.com

RMS Forum Comments

Boydie 08:54 | Sat 10 Mar, 2018 | Report
Brother has the "VR7" picanto and they love it! Perfect for their London living
Graham 09:52 | Sat 10 Mar, 2018 | Report
| Brother has the "VR7" picanto and they love it! Perfect for their London living
They really are churning up some fantastic cars these days - if you can look past the badge and on the likes of the Picanto, the slightly plastic trim inside, then the value for money is not to be sniffed at!
VEN©M 10:00 | Sat 10 Mar, 2018 | Report
waiting for the day one of these review titles is even slightly negative :p
Nigelo 10:00 | Sat 10 Mar, 2018 | Report
The coffin-dodgers shopping at Sammy Mellons or whatever the kia dealer is, give these cars a bad rep!
Graham 10:16 | Sat 10 Mar, 2018 | Report
| waiting for the day one of these review titles is even slightly negative :p
There is no such thing as a bad car these days though that can equate to a negative opener - inside an article there will be some critique but genuinely bad cars are a thing of the past thankfully! Plus, i try and have a positive outlook and see the car for the market in which it sits, as such the Picanto is looked upon IMO as a car that is going to be a non-enthusiast cash buyer that will be keeping it for 5+ years and for £13k it's pretty good as that buyer doesn't demand soft touch materials, a recognisable badge and the premium pricing that would come with such luxury :)
Paddy_R 10:56 | Sat 10 Mar, 2018 | Report
£13k! I didn't think they were even close to that. My mum recently picked up a new Nissan Note and it's fantastic for her. It has DAB radio, sat nav, metallic paint and a whole host of other features and it cost her £9.5k after I'd negotiated with the sales man. Even got mats (Inc a boot liner), flaps, a tank of petrol and Superguard (I think) thrown in for less than the fuel would have cost us. From what I've seen Kia are producing some decent cars but they're pricing them right at the top of their respective classes which the brand image hasn't yet reached even if they cars are close. They're getting there though.
Graham 11:02 | Sat 10 Mar, 2018 | Report
| £13k! I didn't think they were even close to that. My mum recently picked up a new Nissan Note and it's fantastic for her. It has DAB radio, sat nav, metallic paint and a whole host of other features and it cost her £9.5k after I'd negotiated with the sales man. Even got mats (Inc a boot liner), flaps, a tank of petrol and Superguard (I think) thrown in for less than the fuel would have cost us. From what I've seen Kia are producing some decent cars but they're pricing them right at the top of their respective classes which the brand image hasn't yet reached even if they cars are close. They're getting there though.
They start at £9,500 but the top of the range is just shy of £14 so the same as all others within the class TBH Also note, what i am quoting is RRP OTR prices which no one ever pays anywhere near in reality
DavidY 11:07 | Sat 10 Mar, 2018 | Report
My father has bought one of these. The 7 year warranty on top of an already cheap car is not to be sniffed at. However, he has had to take it back after 6 months to have the wheels replaced due to a failure of the laquer. No kirbing or chips etc, the wheels just corroded underneath the laquer which subsequently fell off. I wanted to remain positive about the car and brand for him but im not so sure now.
Graham 11:09 | Sat 10 Mar, 2018 | Report
| My father has bought one of these. The 7 year warranty on top of an already cheap car is not to be sniffed at. However, he has had to take it back after 6 months to have the wheels replaced due to a failure of the laquer. No kirbing or chips etc, the wheels just corroded underneath the laquer which subsequently fell off. I wanted to remain positive about the car and brand for him but im not so sure now.
Did they sort them out hassle free? if so it could simply be a bad batch from a supplier?
DavidY 13:30 | Sat 10 Mar, 2018 | Report
| Did they sort them out hassle free? if so it could simply be a bad batch from a supplier?
Yes sorted out relatively hassle free, just about a month wait for them to sort the warranty paperwork or something. Think my dad also had parking sensors fitted at the same time too.


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