Kia Picanto review


What is?

Despite its spicy-sounding name, the Kia Picanto began life in 2004 as a fairly bland-looking, albeit economically priced and decently equipped, city car. The second iteration in 2011 took full advantage of the Korean brand’s design awakening, famed German hack Peter Schreyer (who designed the original Audi TT, among other things) gave the company’s production the European flair and credibility it so much loves. needed. Schreyer’s signature move was the introduction of the company’s “tiger nose” grille, which has become familiar over time but was bold-looking when first introduced.

If the second-gen car was going up, the third version of the diminutive runabout is on the way back: changes between iterations were limited to refreshing detail tweaks, a sign that there’s hardly any gain to be made. in the urban car segment. Especially from cars powered by hideous gasoline engines. Kia’s only real response as rivals go electric has been to introduce stop/start technology to the range, so there’s not much under the hood worth bragging about.

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Still, it’s a bit of a shame more people haven’t switched to the Picanto: It shows up at the small car party with energy and ebullience that few of its rivals can muster. It’s great fun to drive around town and practical enough for everyday urban life. Take it farther on longer trips and you’ll run into some of the car’s shortcomings, but it’s never been billed as a long-distance cruiser. Although it may fall short in terms of quality and dynamics, the car has a lot going for it, especially when it comes to simplifying daily city driving.

The Picanto range is impressively broad: 1, 2 and 3 spec cars start the selection, the former starting proceedings at £10,995 and proudly advertising its power front windows, USB port and Bluetooth. As with most cars, entry models grab headlines with their low prices, but the sweet spot is further up the spec list as more good stuff becomes available.

The more expensive X-Line and X-Line S options sit 15mm higher and come with a few extra trim pieces attached to the exterior for that imitation SUV look (and a slightly higher hip point for the bingo crowd): Kia will have it. I think a tube of glue and some gray plastic will turn a supermini like the Picanto into a crossover, but let’s not get carried away.

At the top of the price sheet you have the GT-Line and GT-Line S cars, which bring the toys and customization options that kids love so much. In fact, the top-spec cars offer features you’ll be surprised to see at this end of the market: Options include automatic air conditioning, cruise control, wireless phone charger, heated seats and steering wheel, keyless entry, and a backup camera. reverse. As with X-Line cars, we’re supposed to believe that a restyled bumper and some red accents will make a car sporty. Actually, the engine makes the biggest difference here, more about which one will be next.

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Trim levels may be bewildering, but engine selection really isn’t: there’s only a single 1.0-litre 3-cylinder engine available for the Picanto, with a choice of five-speed manual or five-speed automatic. In all models except GT-Line, the engine produces a proper 66bhp, while the top trim gives you the option of turbocharging the petrol unit for a spicier 99bhp. It’s still not fast, that motor drags the Picanto’s sub-10-second 0-60 effort by the skin of its teeth.

Our choice of the range.

1.0 X-Line 5 doors

What’s the verdict?

The Picanto is a fun and interesting city car, with something in the range to suit everyone.

The Picanto has learned from the likes of the Fiat Panda that drivers will be very forgiving inside a car as long as it’s presented in a fun way and is economical to drive. For a first car or something only needed as a small car, you absolutely couldn’t go wrong with the Picanto. It’s fun, frugal, and feels like great value for money.

We may be getting old, but with the GT-Line models aimed so overtly at younger drivers, we’ll probably go for the X-Line ‘crossover’, which loses none of the urban driving entertainment or decent level of equipment. . but it offers a slightly more supple ride thanks to its 15mm high boost height.

The Kia Picanto is an impressive off-roader, and recent tweaks have only served to make it a more attractive prospect.

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