AN AUTOMATIC CHOICE
Its handy transmission and sweet suspension make the Picanto a no-frills, no-fuss runabout
GREAT value, safe, economical and loaded with standard equipment, Kia’s Picanto is also proof that a tiddler can do the job when you’re looking for a car does its transport tasks without any excessive frills.
The Picanto made very positive impression I drove it during the Australian press preview, particularly as my focus was on $13,990 drive-away price for basic five-speed manual.
I’ve had four-speed auto at home, to test drive and it’s even more appealing, though the price blows out $15,690 on road. Let’s set one thing straight from outset — the auto is
better choice in Picanto. It keeps engine working
for more of time and allows car to flow easily with the traffic or hold 110km/h on
highway without me having to row frantically through the manual gearbox. The new Picanto is actually old Picanto, but with a visual update and focus.
2017 version gets gear to suit first-car buyers as well as retirement-age drivers who want no-fuss runabout for a couple of people who are past their outback touring days.
As with almost everything sold in Australia today, aircon and power steering standard.
The Picanto adds a rear-view camera — which Mazda leaves out of its base models plus cruise control seven-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
Kia calls it the thirdgeneration Picanto and touts a new body that, though it looks much like old one, frees up more space comfort in front seats.
One of the best things is suspension that’s tuned for Australia, just like every Kia model, and allows car to ride smoothly with pleasingly low levels of noise harshness.
In the tiddler class, officially called “light cars”, sales are dropping dramatically. Against the trend, the Picanto is a winner. It doesn’t have much opposition but 200-300 people a month are happy to take one home.
Mechanically, the Picanto is nothing special with a 1.25-litre four-cylinder engine (62kW/ 122Nm) carried over from previous model driving front wheels.
It misses out on the threecylinder turbo that’s a medium- term goal for Kia management in Australia.
For now, there is no auto safety braking in the car though it carries seven-year warranty, which still leads all brands Australia.
ON THE ROAD
After only 45 minutes on the freeway, I realise I am really liking the Picanto.
expect a booming baby box but car is quiet and comfortable. Actually, it’s very
feels at least two classes bigger.
For the size and price, the audio is fine my phone is working through CarPlay connection
The maker has done a top job on refining the Picanto and Kia suspension guru Graeme Gambold worked more magic under body.
will never make an impact a racetrack but ride is surprisingly compliant, the grip good and it’s well balanced in all kinds of cornering.
Performance is solid without doing anything special, although I get very close to the claimed fuel economy of 5.8L/100km in auto (the manual claims 5.0L).
Kia doesn’t give a 0-100km/h sprint time for the car but it’s fine taking off from lights and it can be pushed past trucks
caravans on country roads without any heart-stopping moments.
I’ve been a massive critic of Nexen tyres from China in the past but the examples Picanto are surprisingly good and help make car great drive. They quieter and grippier than Kuhmo tyres that an alternative fitment.
The seats comfortable in the front I have no trouble with head or legroom. The Picanto will take only two adults in back.
boot, though larger than the previous model, is still marginal for anything more than a shopping run. As I get familiar with Picanto, enjoy the auto headlights, satnav that’s a surprising inclusion at this price, rear parking radar and the reversing camera with predictive lines to point the way car is going. I think steel wheels on test look cheap Kia can’t seriously claim that
has a flat cargo floor — it’s anything but with the rear seat folded for maximum boot space.
Some people will also question safety of car. I would not like to take a hit from a Toyota LandCruiser, but ANCAP lists the Picanto at five stars with six airbags.
My sister Jane has been running a Toyota Yaris for far too long as city runabout in Sydney.
She’s asking me ages about the right replacement.
Now I know Picanto is right for her.