A mini you can af­ford

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Classifieds Short Cut -

A quick look on­line con­firms the Pi­canto has shaken up the al­ready volatile mi­cro-car seg­ment. Launched with a com­pelling $14,990 drive-away price and rel­a­tively high lev­els of stan­dard kit, the baby Kia has forced its rivals to re­spond with their own drive-away dis­counts. The Pi­canto is still the only car in this class with a de­fault au­to­matic trans­mis­sion and also comes with rear park­ing sen­sors, power win­dows front and rear and steer­ing-wheel mounted audio con­trols. Any colour other than white will add $520. The seats are bril­liant, the driv­ing po­si­tion slightly less so. The driver’s footrest is set too far left to the point where I pre­ferred to plant my left shoe be­tween the footrest and the brake. Your idea of plea­sure is some­what per­verted if you in­sist on putting three in the back seat: the knee and head­room are OK but you’ll need slim-shoul­dered bod­ies to get three abreast. Ride qual­ity is bet­ter than av­er­age for the class but not quite as good as the Holden Spark. A five-star re­sult for the Pi­canto isn’t bad con­sid­er­ing the car has been on sale over­seas since 2011 (a new model is due next year). Six airbags are par for the class but the four-wheel disc brakes set the Kia apart from rivals fit­ted with rear drums. As a sub­ur­ban run­about, the Pi­canto takes some beat­ing. Light steer­ing, tight turn­ing cir­cle and rea­son­able off-the­line urge make it an ideal car for sin­gles or cou­ples who want an ef­fi­cient, ef­fec­tive com­mute. An­other cog in the four-speed auto would make the Pi­canto a gen­uine high­way cruiser. It still per­forms on the free­way but a hefty right foot is re­quired on hills to en­cour­age the trans­mis­sion to shift down. The en­gine is will­ing to rev out and the sound from the 1.25-litre mill isn’t of­fen­sive un­der load. Over 200km of city and ar­te­rial road routes, Cars­guide matched the claimed 5.3L/100km. The main op­po­si­tion comes in the form of the Holden Spark, Suzuki Cele­rio and Mit­subishi Mi­rage, all with drive-away deals un­til the end of the month to try to counter the Pi­canto’s ar­rival. Be aware the deals are for man­ual trans­mis­sion ver­sions, which won’t suit the ma­jor­ity of buy­ers. The Cele­rio costs $12,990 drive-away, mak­ing it the main threat, but it only seats four and has a fourstar safety rat­ing. The Mi­rage costs $13,990 (with the first three an­nual ser­vices free) and the Spark matches the Pi­canto’s $14,990 tag but in man­ual guise. The Pi­canto stands out among the con­tract­ing mi­cro-car seg­ment with a mix of de­cent styling, bet­ter than ex­pected per­for­mance and seven-year war­ranty with capped price ser­vic­ing $2345 over that time.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.