Kia Picanto (review), best in class.


img_2665The smallest car in the Korean brands range is big on personality.

Picanto has been a firm favourite in what is in reality a tiny sector of Ireland’s new car market. Since its Irish launch 4,500 have found homes. The class leader by a mile comes from Kia’s sister company Hyundai. Hyundai’s five seat i10 is a great machine but guess what… the third generation Picanto is better.

New Picanto gets a new exterior design that goes beyond where it needed to. Most tiny city cars are built and designed around keeping a small footprint and maximizing interior space, Picanto manages to do that yet it has some interesting design details that will make you grin.

All the new technology and packaging means the new Picanto is dearer than before now starting from €13,295 for the TX entry model with its manual 5 speed gearbox. As you’d expect the maths works out as good value when you take in to account the sum of its parts.

201703_kia_picanto_0065Blutooth is now standard as are remote audio controls, electric heated door mirrors, electric rear windows, a four speaker sound system (was just stereo), leather steering wheel and gear knob plus colour coded door handles and mirrors. The top EX grade gets 15 inch alloys, Apple CarPlay/ Android Auto smart phone integration, a floating tablet like touch screen centre display, reversing camera and wireless charging function and electric rear windows. EX models get 15 inch alloys as opposed to hub caps and a nice centre dashboard display. The standard car gets a similar looking centre dash housing but with a standard radio display.

The greater availability of driving safety aids is reflected in the model range too with ADAS versions available in TX, EX and EX A/T grades for a modest premium. The advanced driving assistance pack (ADAS) comes with AEB active emergency braking as standard.

201703_kia_picanto_0006The Picanto has a relatively good cargo capacity that Kia claims is the largest in its class at 1,010 litres with the rear seats folded down. The boot is class leading too and features a two step floor and has a capacity of 255 litres (+50).

Two petrol engines make up the range from launch, a three cylinder 1 litre and a four cylinder 1.25. The 67hp/96nm normally aspirated 1 litre is the best unit and falls into tax band A3 (€190). The four should be better but I didn’t like it as much. The 1.25 litre develops 84hp/122nm EX and is also available with a four speed automatic from €16,495. This unit falls into tax band B1 and attracts €270 annual road tax.

A GT Line sporty Picanto will be available later in the year but it won’t be cheap and sadly is unlikely to sell in great numbers despite looking great. Power comes from a 1 litre T-GDI turbocharged, three cylinder, petrol engine that is a hoot to drive with its 100hp/172nm.

img_2668The front wheel drive Picanto comes as a five door only. The three door version was a poor seller and has been dropped. The design team from Kia’s design centres in Namyang, Korea and Frankfurt, Germany has done a great job with new Picanto. The car is pretty much the same size as the last generation with a few little tweaks. Picanto is lighter and stiffer than before plus the wheelbase is longer (+15mm) and this means the ride and driving characteristics deliver a car capable of doing a commute without any hardship. Picanto remains true to being compact but there is tons of space inside. At 1,485mm tall, 3,595mm long and 1,595mm wide it’s a joy to use about town. The Picanto now has one of the quietest and best appointed cabins in its class and passenger access is great too.


Fun and Games with Picanto


Overall Picanto requires very little effort to use thanks to a reduced turning circle coupled with lively engines.

Picanto exceeded my expectations and was fun to drive too!

Kia has hit the nail on the head with this one, I love it.


About Author

Michael Sheridan

Michael Sheridan is a senior and highly respected motoring journalist based in Ireland. He is a frequently heard voice on motoring, transport and mobility matters and has multiple credits on national television, national print media, national and local radio and other outlets. Michael Sheridan has been a Car of the Year Judge for more 20 years (& more recently a Van of the Year judge). Michael has produced and directed many international and national motoring TV programmes and documentaries both on cars and motorcycles - including four films on the iconic Route 66. Michael Sheridan is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP).

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