Picanto is one of KIA’s bestselling vehicles, now in its third generation, the Korean manufacturer has upped its game with the latest model.
Styling is sleeker than its predecessor.
From the distinctive “Tiger Nose” with large headlight clusters, daytime running lights, body coloured bumpers and front projection fog lights to the tail end with a high-level stop light and rear windscreen wiper and a set of 14-inch alloys, the Picanto has come of age.
The interior echoes this.
The cabin feels more spacious, made possible by increasing the wheelbase allowing more passenger space without increasing overall length or width.
The cloth upholstered seating is comfortable and reasonably supportive and features height adjustable head rests, the driver’s seat is height adjustable, as is the tilt-only steering wheel with satellite controls.
Rear passengers have adequate legroom. Their seats feature a 60:40 split, increasing load space.
With seats upright, the boot offers 255 litres of space boosted by the use of a stepped floor 145mm deep for extra under-floor storage.
Fold the seats completely and the Picanto swallows 1 010 litres of luggage.
The boot also sports a cargo shelf cover as standard.
The dashboard provides clear instrumentation, a trip computer, a radio with AUX and USB inputs as well as Bluetooth connectivity and controls for the manual air-conditioning.
Standard are remote central locking with alarm and immobiliser, front electric windows and automatic light control.
And safety features provide ABS, driver and passenger airbags, Data Dot and ISOFIX.
On the road, it is noticeable that the overall internal environment was a much nicer place to be than earlier models, both NVH and ride quality vastly improved.
The most significant improvement in my book is the new power steering, I was not a fan of the previous model mainly due to the rather vague feel and tendency to track.
Now, a well weighted set up allows far more confidence in the car’s drivability both on the open road and in town traffic.
The three-cylinder, 998cc normally aspirated petrol engine delivers 49kW at 5 500rpm and 96Nm of torque at 3 750rpm.
It performs well at the coast although I suspect it will require a little more use of the five-speed manual transmission to keep it on song at altitude.
Fuel consumption is claimed at an average of 5.0 litres/100km but expect to get around the 6.0 litre
The Kia Picanto 1.0 Style is sure to continue selling well in SA, but this segment of the market is rapidly growing, and it will face some competition from the likes of the larger and more expensive Suzuki Ignis and the less expensive Hyundai Grand i10.
The Picanto 1.0 Style manual comes in at R164 495, and this includes a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. An optional two-year/45 000km service plan is available.