Every new Kia is streets ahead of car it replaces. This is also the case with the new Picanto. It is a very competent little city car, with some strange quirks. I found the steering a little odd and took some getting used to, but after 5 days I got the hang of it. The steering is electronic and has a built in inertia at the dead ahead point which is quite disconcerting at first. You do get used to it. Another quirk is the rather large cubby hole at the back. I never quite found the boot. Unless the cubby hole is the boot. Mmmm. It’s possible.
When I took delivery the average fuel consumption was an alarming 8.9 litre/100km. By the time I gave it back it had dropped to 6.6 litre/100km, which included city driving, going up 8 flights in a parking garage daily and about 35km of highway driving, and back, at around 120 km/h every day. Not too shabby. You should be able to achieve around 6 litre/100km.
The Picanto is very well put together and everything is where you would expect it to be. All the switches and controls are easy to use and do what they are supposed to. The MP3/CD/radio is good and can take iPod, AUX/USB inputs. It is a simple well put together car best suited to urban driving.
Visibility is excellent and the driving position is comfortable. It is an easy car to drive once you master the steering feel.
The body of the Picanto is stylish, with smooth lines and a look of its own. From the front its quite commanding. a bit like a Chihuahua. Small, but thinks its big. The side view is almost sporty.
I get the impression that it will last well and not give problems. Easy to drive and easy to own.
There are a number of things I needed getting used to.
The interior uses a lot of hard plastic. The design of the top of the dash causes a quite bad reflection in the windscreen, especially for short drivers. The seats feel a little thin for long roads but are fine in town and the passenger does not get an airbag unless you get the LX. Legroom in the back is on more than cramped, but fine for children.
The boot is… small. OK for shopping, but not more than a trolley full at a time.
The fuel gauge is inconsistent. It drops rather quickly when near empty.
Apart from the top of the range EX, ABS is sadly missing.
If all you want is a simple, reliable city car then the Picanto checks all the right boxes. The LX models add electric windows in front, front fog lamps and a rear wiper. The EX models add ABS, leather steering wheel with remote controls, rear electric windows and Bluetooth.
The Picanto starts at R99 995 for the 1,0 manual, the 1.0 Auto as tested is R109 995. The top of the range 1.2 EX Auto is R125 995. The best value is probably the 1,0 LX Auto at R117 995.
Picanto comes with a 5 Year/100 000km warranty, a 3 Year/100 000km anti-corrosion warranty and 15 000km service intervals.