The New Kia Picanto
The city car segment is very competitive; cars must be affordable and highly economical, so a manufacturer has a real job on their hands convincing us fussy consumers that one model is worth buying over another. It is hardly a sexy market after all.
The Kia trick is that the Picanto comes remarkably well equipped for the money, and its new compact, eye-catching styling singles it out from the rest. Unlike some models in this segment, you wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen in it, and what’s more it is genuinely fun to drive. It’s now a car that adds sporting desirability to the affordable city car.
So what are the improvements? Firstly, the new Picanto has more passenger and luggage space with no increase in overall size. Previous pattern of demand has resulted in doing away with the need for a two door version, so all are now supplied as five door. There are three petrol only engine choices, beginning with a 3 cylinder 1.0 litre 66bhp unit, progressing to a 1.25 litre 83bhp, and ultimately – yet to come – the 1.0 litre 99bhp T-GDi (due late 2017).
Petrol engines were chosen over diesel because diesels add to the purchase price, whilst offering few advantages in overall running costs. The new Picanto has more advanced driver aids and connectivity features, and an all-new platform making extensive use of high-strength steel, and achieving a remarkable improvement in both drivability and handling.
The Picanto way
The proof is in the pudding, as they say. Nothing beats getting behind the wheel. Of course, we go for the current fastest and best (the 83bhp GT line), but all versions of the new Picanto share its space and significantly improved cabin quality. Ride and refinement are noticeably improved too, credit due to the new steel reinforced platform, shining at its best on this GT line version of the car. Pushing it hard cross country it does feel like a GTi, and you are lacking in neither power nor pace.
The intrigue comes from exploring its dynamic abilities, and enjoying how well and how confidently it sticks to the road.
The Picanto way detracts from the ‘more power, more speed’ driving philosophy and asks you to put your high performance driving skills to the test by working with momentum and the balance and capability of a well sorted chassis, which is not only more rewarding than brute power, but demands more skill of a driver. I guess the Picanto’s real surprise is the proof that there can still be an awful lot of fun in budget motoring.
Picanto 1.25 GT Line
Engine: 3cyl 1248cc
Transmission: five speed manual
Top Speed: 107mph
Acceleration: 0-60mph 11.6 seconds
Emissions CO2/g/ km: 106
Average Fuel Consumption: 61.4mpg
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