(Relatively) cheap and cheerful

 
Ryan Borroff
There was a time when the main reason for buying a Kia Picanto would have been its bargain price tag and jaw-dropping seven-year warranty – it certainly wasn’t great to drive or particularly good looking either. In fact it looked about as cheap as it’s price tag suggested.

But this latest incarnation of the Picanto is so much more than its predecessor. Previous generations were unremarkable to look at but this one is distinctive. The styling of this latest Picanto is part of a new wave of Kia designs under design director Peter Schreyer – and it’s actually pretty cool.

Not only does it sport the new trademark Kia “Tiger nose” but it has completely new features that give it a more aggressive look than you’d otherwise expect. It’s like an angry version of some other cute-looking city cars. The body tapers out from the roof, the sides are given a dynamic edge with an assertive crease that runs from front to back and the rear is given an aggressive look with angular lights. And if it still isn’t sporty-looking enough for you, the three-door version – which comes later this year – will be even more dynamic looking than this five-door.

Inside the cabin, layout might seem simple but it is stylish too. The dash and doors are a bit plasticky – even in this “level 2” option model – but then that seems to be standard in a car at this price point and the Picanto feels solid and well built. The seats are comfortable – even over long journeys – and the cabin feels a lot larger than its external dimensions suggest.

While the cabin feels surprisingly spacious, it has come at the cost of boot space. With a capacity of just 200 litres, the boot is tiny. You could stow a couple of weekend bags and some walking boots, but certainly not a baby buggy as well.

This car is designed for a city commute rather than long road trips – and around town the 84hp 1.25 litre engine is spritely enough and the car feels light and easy. But on the motorway, the Picanto handles like a much larger car. The comfortable ride means it’s not tiring on longer trips as is so often the case with small cars.

But enough about its good looks and its comfortable ride. The car is cheap to buy and it’s cheap to run too. This model is even more economical than its predecessor, gets a whopping 65.7mpg, thanks to its efficient engine and use of Kia’s EcoDynamics package (including auto stop/start and advanced alternator control), making it an alluring option for your wallet even if you’re also a design snob.

This car comes in at just over £10k. The entry level 1.0-litre “1” is just £7,995, gets 67.3mpg and produces just 99g/km of CO2. Either car is sold at a price you can’t argue with. The new Kia Picanto is a car you’ll be proud to drive because it’s way more than just a thrifty choice. It’s designed for young, trendy urbanites and it’s something of a clever purchase, this one. In fact it’s a steal.

THE FACTS:
KIA PICANTO 1.25 ‘2’ ECO

PRICE: £10,195
0-62MPH: 11SEC
TOP SPEED: 106MPH
CO2 G/KM: 100G/KM
MPG COMBINED: 65.7MPG

THE VERDICT:

DESIGN
PERFORMANCE
PRACTICALITY
VALUE FOR MONEY