Picanto is style for the city
KIA has produced another ultimate city car with the launch of the latest version of its perky and personable Picanto, a vehicle that exemplifies the maxim that moving down in the auto world refers to size not quality.
The Picanto can justly claim to be as enjoyable to drive as many in the mid-size range, while at the same time able to hold its ground in the small car market where the emphasis is fast moving from economy to quality and style.
Not that the Kia would break the bank for potential buyers, but as well as pleasing the bank manager, it is offering the driver a driving experience that is thoroughly enjoyable.
The latest version of the Picanto comes in three variants, an LX manual or automatic and a more sophisticated and “specced-up” GT.
All three use the Kappa 1.25 MPI engine with piston-cooling jets and coated piston rings, a feisty little power plant that is also pleasingly quiet. It produces 62kW at 6000 rpm and 122Nm at 4000.
Buyers have the choice of a four- speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission that offer smooth shifts through the gears while being able to burn along at a brisk rate.
They will also be happy with fuel economy from 5litres/100kms for the manual and from 5.8 for the automatic.
The Picantos have six airbags, electronic stability control, ABS brakes, hill-start-assist control, reverse parking sensors and — well done to Kia — all come with rear view cameras displaying through a seven-inch dash display.
The full range of intelligent features, auto remote controls, cruise control, AUX and USB ports, Android Auto and Apple Car Play, hands-free Bluetooth and even tweeter speakers at each end of the dash add a lot to the package.
A tilting steering wheel controls the the motor-driven power steering, there is auto lights control which will turn on and off, depending on the lighting conditions, auto temperature control in the GT, a start/stop button with smart key in the GT and impact-sensing door unlock in all three variants.
Kia’s engineers have long since mastered the art of extracting the maximum space from a small vehicle, with things like 60/40 rear folding seats for unusual-shaped cargo.
They have topped it off with a range of bright colours like pop orange, lime light and titanium silver, though they have kept clear white for conservative types.
The GT can also offer alloy pedals, a sports bumper and 16-inch alloy wheels.
The Picanto is a fun and interesting car and another example of how Kia continues to produce cutting edge vehicles in all segments of the market.