Fit of pique
Kia Picanto GT Line £12,450
WE SAY: SO JUST HOW SPORTY IS THE SPICED-UP PICANTO GT LINE?
When you’re on holiday abroad and you see a word like “Picanto” on a menu, you might wonder if you’re man enough. Nobody, anywhere, has ever had the same feeling about Kia’s pint-sized city car. The Korean company wants to change all that with the brand new MkIII model by launching it with a sportylooking GT Line version from the outset.
It gets a more stylish bodykit that includes larger front intakes, thicker sills and a rear “difuser” with twin exhaust pipes. Plus the obligatory fashes of red detailing. A longer wheelbase and fancy LED indicators also make the new entrant considerably more interesting-looking than the old Picanto. It’s not all about the looks, either, as the GT Line cars get stifer springs and unique 15in alloy wheels.
On the inside, Kia has made big strides in improving the Picanto. A new dashboard layout, complete with 7in freestanding infotainment touchscreen, makes the Picanto look and feel like a more grownup car (and less like something you’d rent cheap for the aforementioned holiday). Buyers can add fashes of colour to the doors and air vents with personalisation packs and the seats are comfortable and supportive.
You’ll have to wait until later in the year for a promising 1.0-litre turbo engine with 98bhp. Until then there’s a 66bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder or a larger 1.2-litre four-cylinder (driven here). The latter makes 83bhp at 6,000rpm and develops a useful 90lb ft of torque. A fve-speed manual gearbox comes as standard, though you can have an automatic with the 1.2.
Power delivery from the 1.2 is smooth and linear; however, with a 12.0secs 0–62mph time, the GT Line isn’t going to set any speed records in this guise. It can, however, maintain its hard-won pace with ease. Even the standard car handles well, while the GT Line gives you more confdence to carry speed through the corners with well-contained body roll. Even on less-than-perfect tarmac, the Kia feels reassuringly surefooted. There’s more to like: the Picanto’s steering is more direct that many of its rivals’ and the manual ’box has a positive feel to each shift, making the experience more pleasurable than it strictly needs to be in a car of this size.
Among the tasty dishes on the city car menu, it’s a good efort. And you don’t have to spec this paint either.
I like my cars like I like my pizza – small and spicy