Our cars: Kia Picanto - December
Week ending December 16
Driven this week: 70 miles
I've spent a lot of time in our Picanto recently, and just as much driving its close relation, the Hyundai i10.
There's no doubt the Picanto is the better looking of the two, but I think the i10 is better in just about every other way.
The i10 is certainly much better to drive. It has a supple ride than the Picanto, a sweeter gearshift and more responsive steering. All of which makes a big difference, whether you're driving in town, or on the motorway. With the same engine under the bonnet, the i10 is also more refined.
Even the i10's stereo is better, compared with the Picanto's tinny-sounding system.
Surprising, really, considering the i10 has been around for a few years and the Picanto was launched only a few months ago.
Week ending December 9
Driven this week: 540
Good news. Kia dealer Lovekyn of Ewell got to the root of the Picanto’s fuel gauge problem (the needle has been intermittently sticking on ‘full’).
It turns out the level sensor in the fuel tank is playing up, so a replacement has been ordered and will be fitted next week under warranty. That will make long trips a lot less stressful.
Week ending December 2
Driven this week: 98
The Picanto’s Bluetooth function is handy (or rather hands-free) for making safe and legal phone calls on the move. But it has another purpose, too, because I an use it to stream music on any smartphone through the Kia’s stereo.
I don’t often use this function when it’s just me in the car, because I can physically plug my phone (an iPhone 4) into the stereo using a special lead. However, when friends are in the car, the feature comes into its own, because we can listen to music on their phones, rather than just repeats of my limited library.
The system isn’t perfect, though, because it isn’t capable of controlling a phone remotely. So, the only way to change tracks or albums is to use the phone itself. Not a problem if you have a willing passenger, but it is if you’re the only one in the car because it means pulling over first.