What is it? Supermini buyers love chic little three-door models; they account for 45% of the market. However, the last Kia Picanto was only ever available as a five-door, which meant Kia missed out on a huge slice of the action. Not any more, because the new Picanto is now available as a three-door.
It’s a looker, too, with its jutting chin, longer doors and kicked-up rear windows. The visual tweaks make it look more compact and purposeful than its five-door sibling, but in fact their dimensions are identical.
What’s it like to drive? It’s entirely acceptable. The four-cylinder 1.25-litre engine kicks out a decent 84bhp and 89lb ft of torque. It’s mated to a five-speed gearbox that is light and properly slick to shift. The engine revs briskly and smoothly, if a bit raucously, and performance is good at town speeds. You’ll have no bother keeping up with traffic.
It’s less at home on the motorway but you won’t be holding anyone up. Anyway, it’s a 1.25, so it’s unreasonable to expect the motorway to be its forte.
The ride is firm and fidgety, but the Picanto’s body is decently controlled. Light steering and tight turning circle make it an agile inner-city companion. The downside is steering that tells you nothing about the road. The wheel also doesn’t return to centre quickly enough of its own accord, which is annoying at best and downright disconcerting at worst. It also feels ‘sticky’ around the straight-ahead at faster speeds. The Picanto is a car rendered flat-footed by its steering.
What’s it like inside? You get reasonable space for four, although those in the back will find the rear seats a bit short of support.
The driver and front-seat passenger get a good amount of space, and it’s pretty easy to find a good driving position, even though the steering wheel adjusts for height only.
Should I buy one? The Picanto certainly has upsides, namely a well built cabin that is stacked with standard kit, and a seven-year warranty. However, prices for the 1.25 3dr start at £11,695, which is way too much. You can get a Ford Fiesta 1.25 Edge for that money, and it offers a much better driving and ownership experience.
What Car? says…
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