AT A GLANCE

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - FIRST DRIVE -

You could also wait for the new Pi­canto to come out — it’ll have more in-car tech and a dif­fer­ent look — but you can also bet on it cost­ing more if it ar­rives at all.

The Pi­canto comes in one spec­i­fi­ca­tion — the Si — and is pow­ered by a 1.25-litre four­cylin­der petrol en­gine with a four-speed auto trans­mis­sion. It un­der­cuts the $15,990 Holden Spark and $15,290 Nis­san Mi­cra but can’t beat Mit­subishi’s $14,250 Mi­rage or Suzuki’s $13,990 Cele­rio on price.

As with most mi­cro­cars the Pi­canto’s stan­dard fea­tures con­tain just the very ba­sics. There’s a CD player and ra­dio, Blue­tooth, USB port, air­con­di­tion­ing and power win­dows in the front and back.

There’s a five-star ANCAP crash test rat­ing, rear park­ing sen­sors, a space saver spare, disc brakes front and back, three top tether an­chor points and two ISOFIX mounts for child seats. The glar­ing omis­sion is a re­vers­ing cam­era.

ON THE ROAD

The Pi­canto has carved out a healthy niche in Europe, where it is per­fectly suited to nar­row vil­lage laneways and country roads.

But Aus­tralia presents dif­fer­ent chal­lenges. The lo­cal launch took us through some ur­ban and ru­ral ar­eas and then a large stretch of free­way.

The four-speed auto is fine around town but on a flat part of

KIA PI­CANTO PRICE

$14,990 drive away (auto)

WAR­RANTY

7 years/un­lim­ited km TBA

CAPPED SER­VIC­ING SER­VICE IN­TER­VAL

12 months/15,000km

SAFETY

6 airbags, five-star ANCAP crash rat­ing

1.25L 4-cyl, 63kW/120Nm

EN­GINE TRANS­MIS­SION

4-spd auto; FWD 5.6L/100km

THIRST DI­MEN­SIONS

3595mm (L), 1595mm (W), 1480mm (H), 2385mm (WB) 994kg Tem­po­rary

WEIGHT SPARE

the Hume at 110km/h the Pi­canto is revving at 3500rpm and plead­ing for a fifth gear. Com­bine this with no cruise con­trol and it’s not ideally suited for long dis­tance driv­ing.

There are no com­plaints about how it felt on the road though — yes there’s tyre roar on course chip, but the car is easy to drive, the seats are com­fort­able and sup­port­ive and the steer­ing is great. The car felt planted even at high speeds with cross winds, where some city run­abouts can be a lit­tle spooky.

The en­gine feels a lit­tle un­der­pow­ered at times, es­pe­cially when over­tak­ing at

RICHARD BERRY

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