The last incarnation of the car in 2011 was decent but boring. I should know, I was on that launch. But this one, although not exactly a sexy beast, gives just the right injection of fun.
The all-new Picanto has been handed a new set of clothes to make it look part of Kia’s modern family. It’s more ‘down with the kids’, fitting in nicely with the Korean brand’s Sportage and Rio models.
The car now has a new nose and eye-catching LED running lights, but it’s the space inside that’s more significant for buyers. Rear head and legroom are impressive, while up front, you feel you’re in a car in a class above. The boot is not to be sniffed at, either, with 255-litres on offer. This is all largely due to Kia unfolding the wheelbase by 15mm.
There are no less than nine versions of the all-new Picanto to be had, based on two power units, two gearboxes and five trims – labelled ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’. The 2017 Picanto, which goes on sale in May, will be available as a five-door hatchback only.
I drove the 1.2 GT-Line Picanto, and it’s an eye-catching little machine. As well as the new nips and tucks, it has 16-inch alloys, bursts of red on the bumpers and grille, and a deeper front air intake. Step inside and there’s a good amount of kit, including a touchscreen infotainment system, and some deftly designed air-conditioning controls. The steering wheel is sportily flat-bottomed, too, and there are faux leather seats set in a moody dark cabin, broken up with red stitching. It all looks great.
Behind the wheel, this version of the all-new Picanto feels surprisingly sophisticated. Our media test run in Tuscany involved plenty of lumpy urban streets, but the city car didn’t feel out of its depth. It even handled motorway speeds well. In this guise, the Picanto will hit 60mph in 11.6 seconds, before running out of steam at 107mph. Perhaps more importantly, you can expect up to 61mpg from it, too.
Fast Facts (1.2 GT-Line Picanto - as tested)nm
- Max speed: 107 mph
- 0-60 mph: 11.6 secs
- Combined mpg: 61.4
- Engine layout: 1248cc four-cylinder petrol
- Max. power (PS): 84
- CO2: 106 g/km
- Price: £12,450
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