Car review: Kia Picanto

What is it?

The all-new, third generation Picanto is Kia’s cute little 5-door city car. Now available in ‘X-Line’ trim for more height and space (great for SUV fans) and ‘GT-Line’ if you’re after a sporty look (as seen here). If you’re considering a Picanto you’re probably also looking at the Hyundai i10, Volkswagen up!, Skoda Citigo, Seat Mii and the Suzuki Melero.

Who is it aimed at?

Buyers who want a good value supermini for nipping around in without sacrificing comfort, practicality or driving fun. Someone who might want something different from the usual.

(c) Ginny Weeks 2018

First impressions?

Despite the delivery driver saying he’s already sick of the car (having only driven 100 odd miles) I have high hopes. With 16-inch alloy wheels, chrome detailing and a raised ride height it is smart looking. A quick look at the interior and it’s spacious inside with lots of leg and height room in the back. Plus, it’s my first Kia review so I’m pretty excited.

(c) Ginny Weeks 2018

What options are there? 

The Picanto is currently available with two petrol engines – a 66bhp 1.0-litre and a four-cylinder 83bhp 1.25-litre engine (which I am testing), with a third three-cylinder 1.0-litre T-GDI engine added later this year.

The five-speed manual gearbox comes as standard, but there is a four-speed automatic option.

There are 3 grades of trim with generous equipment as standard, such as AUX and USB ports, tinted windows, automatic headlights and much more. Then there is ‘X-Line’, the larger model with SUV styling and lots of extras such as a 7-inch touchscreen display with DAB radio. Finally, you have ‘GT-Line’ which features sports trim and ‘GT-Line S’ which has an electric sunroof, heated front seats and steering wheel, push-button start/stop, satellite navigation, rear parking camera and more. All cars come with Kia’s standard 7-year warranty.

(c) Ginny Weeks 2018

What’s the interior like?

Despite a lot of basic plastics it still manages to look stylish and well thought out. The clever storage details are a nice touch and little extras such as a driver’s armrest are a welcome addition too. The large windows let in a lot of light and I was impressed with the boot space and the amount you can fit in with the seats down. In fact, the Picanto has a bigger boot than many of its rivals including the Volkswagen up!. What lets the ‘GT-Line’ trim down is the lack of satellite navigation and the basic black and white AM/FM radio screen, which feels very dated.

(c) Ginny Weeks 2018

How does it drive?

The first thing to notice is just how light the steering and clutch is. Parking and manoeuvring are super easy, especially given the raised ride height and lack of blind spots. The second thing is how fun, but grownup the car is to drive. For its small size it handles confidently and would happily be a family car, a responsive runabout, or a daily driver.

On the motorway is where it shows its city-centric personality as it gets buffeted around a bit by the wind and road noise is noticeable too. Saying that, with the quicker engine it is perfectly capable at higher speeds. Another thing to note about motorway driving with a small engine car is that you can get through a surprising amount of fuel. With a mix of motorway and city driving I managed an average of 40mpg.


If you’re looking for a fun, smart little car and don’t want to get something predictable, the Kia Picanto is a great option, especially considering its reasonable price and 7-year warranty.

Car on test: Kia Picanto ‘GT-Line’ 1.25
0-60mph: 11.6 seconds
Power: 83 bhp
Transmission: five-speed manual
CO2 Emissions: 107g/km
Economy: 61.4 mpg combined claimed
Price: ‘GT-Line’ is £12,450

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