Kia Picanto ‘GT-Line’ 1.25 review.
For – cute, high-quality, well priced and equipped, guarantee.
Against – with a guarantee like that, not much.
Competition – Hyundai i10, VW Up, Suzuki Celerio, Fiat Panda, Fiat 500, Vauxhall Viva, Skoda Citigo, SEAT Mii, Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 108, Citroen C1, Renault Twingo, Opel Adam, Nissan Micra.
This is a smashing little car, heavy with sophisticated equipment you’d expect on a German premium machine, very well made and as cute as a kitten.
Don’t be fooled though by the “GT-Line” moniker. This is no hot rod, although it zips along nicely, particularly if you use the gears. If it’s something hot you want, a turbo-charged version will soon be available.
Mercifully, this Picanto has “only” 5 gears in the manual version. Maybe it’s me but six-speed manuals seem to be an unnecessary complication not to say a waste of time. Has any sensible driver ever gone from 4th to 5th, when they could go from 4th to 6th?
The interior is terrific, with a smart looking dashboard and a leather interior with red decoration on the model I drove. The radio installation looked a bit naff though, which undermined the good impression. It’s got a steering wheel with all the buttons and options, just like a German upmarket motor. This one even had alloy pedals. There’s plenty of head room in the rear. The boot is small, not surprising in a little car, but the rear seats fold and split easily. For a moment, I though the Picanto had the worst cup-holders I’d even seen because my coffee cup didn’t seem to have a means of keeping it from falling over. Then I spied the little buttons which when pressed, click against the cup for a firm grip. Outstanding!
The outside on the GT-Line has plenty of attractive style add-ons, with a red line under the rear number plate, under the doors and around the air vents. There are twin spot lights at the front and twin exhaust pipes look purposeful at the back.
Make it go
On the road the Picanto sits nicely on the highway and cruises effortlessly at legal speeds. The ride is impressive and the steering tight. You have to make use of the gearbox to make it go, but you can’t fault its efficiency. Fuel economy is a very acceptable 42.2 mpg, until you look at Kia’s claim of 61.4 mpg, a 31 per cent deviation.
This is the third generation of the Picanto and only five-door versions will be sold. Prices start at £9,450.
At launch there are nine versions based on two engines – 1.0 litre and 1.25 petrol, no diesels – two transmissions and five trim lines – badged ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’. Later this year there will be a 99 hp 1.0-litre turbocharged engine.
“‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ bring an unprecedented level of sportiness to the Picanto range, with bespoke exterior and interior styling and exclusive trim features,” said Kia.
This is a well equipped range. Even the entry-level grade ‘1’ model features electric front windows, remote locking with a folding key, tinted windows, a radio with AUX and USB ports, a tilt-adjustable steering column, automatic headlight control, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), 60:40 split folding rear seats and six airbags.
Torque Vectoring, a first for Kia in the city-car class, is another aid to handling stability. Using the anti-lock brake and stability control sensors, it detects when the car is drifting off its intended course in corners and gently brakes the inside rear wheel if the front of the car is running wide, or the outer rear wheel if the rear tyres are starting to slide outwards. It is standard on all models.
In common with all Kias, the all-new Picanto comes with the best warranty in the business – seven-year/100,000-mile – covering all labour and parts except those subject to normal wear and tear. The warranty is transferable if the car is sold before the time/mileage limit expires. The new Picanto is also available with servicing packages. These cover the cost of all routine servicing work for three or five years and, like the warranty, can be passed on if the car is sold before they expire.
What to buy?
A quick glance at the choices in this sector throws up the usual impossible choices. If you can’t make up your mind, there is one overwhelming advantage in the Picanto’s favour – the 7 year guarantee. This still is unique for Kia, and surely will be a clinching factor for many. After all, the guarantee persuaded many buyers to opt for a Kia back when they were cheap, cheerful and strange anonymous little boxes.
How things have changed.
Kia Picanto ‘GT-Line’ 1.25
Engine: 1.25 litre 4-cylinder petrol
82 hp @ 6,000 rpm
122 lb/ft @ 4,000
Acceleration: 0-60 mph 11.6 seconds
Top Speed: 107 mph-172 km/h
claimed combined 61.4 mpg
WintonsWorld road test -42.4 mpg-6.7 l/km
CO2: 106 g/km
Length: 3,595 mm
7 years/100,000 miles
Competition: Hyundai i10, VW Up, Suzuki Celerio, Fiat Panda, Fiat 500, Vauxhall Viva, Skoda Citigo, SEAT Mii, Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 108, Citroen C1, Renault Twingo, Opel Adam, Nissan Micra
For: cute, high-quality, well priced and equipped, guarantee
Against: with a guarantee like that, not much