It is said that good things come in small packages and the Kia Picanto is proof of just that. Measuring almost as high as it is wide, this little hatchback felt like it could quite possibly fit inside some of the larger cars I have previously driven and yet everything in the Picanto was well formed and practical to use. I recently drove the base model Picanto S with a manual gearbox and still found features that made me smile and enjoy the driving experience.
The Picanto S is powered by a 1.25 litre, In-line 4-cylinder engine and has a tiny 62kW of power and 122Nm of torque. The 5-speed manual gearbox transfers the power to the front wheels of the 993kg Picanto S and there is enough power to keep you out of trouble, and when thinking about younger drivers who may choose the Picanto as a first car, hopefully not enough power to get you into trouble. The upside of the Picanto’s size is the official combined fuel consumption is 5.0L/100km and for my time with the Picanto I used 5.4L/100km.
Sure, there is lots of hard plastic on the door trims, dash and centre console and the steering wheel is plastic covered, but there are also some really nice design features like the side air vents at the front and the lightning-fast movement of the front cup holders, easily my favourite feature on the Picanto! The seats are cloth covered and comfortable enough with manual adjustment for recline and forward/back plus seat height adjustment for the driver.
The 8″ colour LCD touch screen does not have sat nav, but you do get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that can be operated via voice control by pressing the button on the steering wheel designated with the masculine looking silhouette on it. The system is also compatible with MP3 and iPod and has Bluetooth connectivity for phone and audio with one USB port and on 12V outlet at the front of the centre console.
The Picanto S has single zone, old style climate control with manual rotary knobs for adjustment and an analogue speedo and taco, and you have to put the key in and turn it to make the Picanto start, but at least you have push button keyless entry. But when you pull into a car parking space there will be plenty of room on both sides to open the doors. If the Picanto taught me anything it was to look at things with a glass half full attitude.
Although the leg room for the rear seats was tight for me, it was not uncomfortable, and the head room was actually quite good. There are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but only enough room for two car seats due to the width of the Picanto rear seat. There are no central rear air vents or rear USB points and there is just one cup holder located at the rear of the centre console, in reach of rear seat passengers.
The tailgate has power assisted manual opening and the boot is small but surprisingly commodious because of its depth and I was able to fit the weekly shop into the boot, but stacking the bags on top of one another. There are four hooks in the boot and under the boot floor the cutest little space saver spare tyre. If more storage space is required the rear seats have a 60:40 split fold mechanism.
Autonomous Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Warning System come as standard on the Picanto S, as does a standard rear-view camera with reverse parking sensors plus auto lights. You get standard cruise control, but annoyingly there is no indication on the dash as to the speed you have the cruise control set at.
All variants in the current Picanto range have a 4-star (2017) ANCAP safety rating and come with dual frontal, side chest and side head-protecting airbags (curtains) as standard. The ANCAP Adult Occupant Protection score is 87% (33.3 out of 38) and the Child Occupant Protection is 64% (31.6 out of 49).
In addition to Kia’s seven-year unlimited kilometre warranty, you can renew your Roadside Assistance package yearly, for up to 8 years, by simply returning your vehicle to your local Authorised Kia Dealer for its scheduled services. The service interval for the Picanto S is every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first with the price capped to $2,806 for the first seven services.
The Kia Picanto S may be the least expensive car I have ever reviewed at just $18,490 drive away, but it was by no means the least enjoyable. If you need proof that size doesn’t matter, then I suggest you give the plucky Picanto a go. Visit your preferred Kia dealer for more information.
|The retractable cup holders||The cruise control doesn’t indicate the speed set on the dash|
|Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto||Only has a 4-star ANCAP safety rating|
|Great fuel economy||The masculine looking silhouette on the voice control button|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.