Picanto’s kit to burst

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Keenan

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

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