Even with the market demise of the A segment city car, Kia’s little Picanto is still a stellar seller. With four out of five sales being private individuals there’s still a large call for affordable, around town runabouts.
For 2017, the Picanto is ‘all new’, built on a fresh platform it thankfully keeps the outgoing cars’ dimensions, it only grows in height by just 5mm. Kia have cleverly repackaged everything to gain more space inside.
The three-door model has also been ditched, they only account for 10% of segment sales.
Prices start from £9,450, with the ultimate GT Line S setting you back £13,950.
Externally, the new Picanto can change quite a bit depending on the trim level you choose.
Ultimately it looks best in GT Line trim. With its more aggressive, swollen front and rear bumpers. Red highlights give it a sporting nature…even if the most potent engine is currently the 1.25 litre.
It also features side skirts and some questionable chrome work on the windows and door handles.
A sporty rear spoiler finishes off the wannabe sporty aesthetics along with a twin exit exhaust.
At launch, there will only be the option of a 1.0 and 1.25 litre petrol engine. The latter being a four cylinder jobby making 83 BHP.
The 1.0 litre is a thrummy three pot with 66 BHP, around town it’s perfect. It will get you from A to B for years with ease. But if you’re going further afield you may want to think about the 1.25.
Now I know .25 doesn’t make much of a difference, but the extra cylinder does.
Whilst the three banger is well refined, the higher revs naturally increase the audible din. This is completely forgotten in the 1.25, but it’s a trade-off between the free revving nature of the 1.0 litre.
Hit an incline in the lesser powered Picanto and you’ll be grabbing for the gear stick hoping to keep pace. The four cylinder fairs slightly better in that respect, but if performance is your thing you will need to wait for the turbo engine later this year.
As for 0-60 times the 1.0 litre will hit the magical number in 13.8 seconds, whilst the 1.25 will do it in 11.6.
Ride is firm on the 14” alloys, sportingly so in fact. Even on pristine Italian tarmac the little Picanto will find imperfections that make their way into the cabin. There seemed to be little to no difference as you bump up wheel size to the 16 inchers, on GT Line S models.
We wait to see what the acne scarred UK roads feel like in the little Kia.
Handling is damn good. Naturally the steering is without much sensitivity but you know where the wheels are at all times due to the cars minutiae dimensions.
You can confidently place it on the road, and if you push the engine…really wringing out those revs, you find pace being able to push on nicely across winding country roads.
Oh, and it hangs on so well in the corners. Even entry level Picanto’s come with torque vectoring. This uses the ABS system to brake the wheels gently, helping the Kia to find every last bit of grip from its skinny tyres.
As with the Rio, interior quality is high. Plastics are easy on the eye; all the touch points are suitably premium, with only the upper sections on the doors feeling particularly scratchy.
From ‘3’ trim you get a nice 7” touch screen, below that you get a basic stereo setup.
Kit levels are high from the start though, with even the most basic ‘1’ featuring an aux input and USB port. You also get electric front windows, remote locking with a folding key, tinted rear windows, auto headlights and six airbags. City cars don’t have to be Spartan, Kia prove that with the new Picanto.
But it’s the spacious nature of the cabin you notice most. It’s almost like a Rio.
In fact the whole car is a shrunken Rio. From its ride and handling to its copy and paste interior looks. The dimensions may not have changed, but it’s definitely bigger inside.
Rear seat legroom isn’t bad. It’s on the tight side of comfy, but easily adequate for adults on short journeys. Boot space is enough for two weekend bags measuring in at 255 litres.
Kia have upped the city car game with the Picanto. Even though it’s a dying segment, it’s hard to think of another vehicle on the market today that balances this type of kit, quality and interior space.
Yes, you could go for the Up!, CitiGo, Mii trio, but they seem far smaller and toy car like compared to the new Picanto.
As we said earlier, it’s like an 80% scale model of the Rio. Which is good.
So far the pick of the line-up would be the 1.25 in GT Line trim, purely for the looks. One of those will set you back £12,450.
We wait to see how punchy the turbo lump will be, no doubt that will come at a considerable premium though.
|Grade||CO2||Insurance||1st Year VED||OTR £|
|Entry||‘1’ 1.0 66bhp 5-speed manual||101||4||£140||£9,450|
|Mid||‘2’ 1.0 66bhp 5-speed manual||101||5||£140||£10,750|
|‘2’ 1.25 83bhp 5-speed manual||106||8||£140||£11,250|
|‘2’ 1.25 83bhp 4-speed auto||124||8||£160||£11,900|
|High||‘3’ 1.25 83bhp 5-speed manual||106||9||£140||£12,650|
|‘3’ 1.25 83bhp 4-speed auto||124||9||£160||£13,300|
|GT-Line||‘GT-Line’ 1.0 66bhp 5-speed manual||101||6||£140||£11,950|
|‘GT-Line’ 1.25 83bhp 5-speed manual||106||9||£140||£12,450|
|GT-Line S||‘GT-Line S’ 1.25 83bhp 5-speed manual||106||10||£140||£13,950|