Picanto’s kit to burst
IT’S the cute city mini that thinks big. The all-new Picanto may be the baby of the Kia range, but you would never guess from an equipment list that puts many larger motors to shame.
The amount of kit included is always one of the prime considerations for buyers and Kia take the view that small cars do not have to be spartan cars.
So, even the entry-level ‘1’ model is choc full of goodies with electric front windows, remote locking with a folding key, tinted windows, a radio, a tiltadjustable steering column, automatic headlights, stability control, hill-start assist, torque vectoring control to aid handling, 60/40 split folding rear seats and six airbags all thrown in.
By the time you reach the ‘3’ model I drove the Picanto is groaning with goodies.
Automatic air conditioning ensures a pleasant atmosphere in the cabin at all times, there are handy electric heated door mirrors to clear frost in the winter, while Bluetooth with music streaming ensure lots of entertainment at your fingertips.
The already good-looking exterior gets further glitz with the addition of alloy wheels. Added safety features include autonomous emergency braking as well as front fog lights.
Motorway driving is assisted by cruise control with speed limiter, while a seven-inch full colour central display unit with satellite navigation and full smartphone connectivity plus a DAB radio as part of a six-speaker audio system are the icing on a tasty cake.
A rear parking camera and sensors as well as chrome exterior door handles are just Kia showing off.
Pile all this on top of the best warranty in the business – seven years or 100,000 miles – and the Picanto makes a compelling case in the intensely competitive baby car market, especially as the model remains keenly priced from £9,450 to £13,950 or from £129 a month on contract hire.
The third generation of the Korean mini car is a step forward looks-wise with a cheeky appealing face and angular design giving a modern feel to the exterior, while the interior also benefits from a revamp.
There is now a bit more space in the cabin thanks to the wheelbase being increased, so four adults are easily accommodated, while the boot is boosted to 250 litres, expanding to 1,010 litres with the rear seats down.
Beneath the bonnet of the five-door Picanto – three-door models are no longer available – there is a choice of a pair of petrol engines – a 1.0-litre developing 66bhp or a 1.25 with 83bhp. A turbo version of the three pot 1.0-litre block is expected to join the range soon offering a sporty 100bhp.
Linked to an efficient five-speed manual gearbox, the 1.25 powering my test car proved an effective operator around town while also being able to hold its own when it came to dual carriageways and motorways.
Kia claim an average fuel consumption figure in excess of 60mpg, which is more like 50mpg in the real world, while carbon dioxide emissions are 106g/km.
The Picanto is fun to drive, especially around town where it is quick to take advantage of a gap in traffic and easy to slot into that tight city centre parking spot.
It is a refined individual with noise effectively banished from the cabin while on the road it is smooth with most humps and hollows absorbed by the efficient suspension.
Well equipped for battle with the likes of the Skoda Citigo, Renault Twingo and Citroen C1, the Picanto offers a modern take on the city car which seems certain to have mass appeal.
TEST DRIVE KIA PICANTO 3 1.25