Our cars: Kia Picanto - September
Week ending September 16
Total mileage 2014
Driven this week 58 miles
I’ve been two-timing my Picanto with its better-looking sister. The three-door model I spent time in this week wasn’t only prettier than my car, though, it also had the Picanto’s stronger 84bhp 1.25-litre engine.
To live with, I’d take the more practical five-door layout over the better proportions of the three-door version, but the extra power of the 1.25 engine does make the Picanto more fun to drive. What’s more, CO2 emissions of just 100g/km (if you choose a version with stop-start) means it still qualifies for free road tax and exemption from the London Congestion Charge.
So, why on earth did I choose the weedy 68bhp 1.0-litre version? It was all down to price. You see, our 1.2 2 model costs £9595, whereas the equivalent 1.25 version starts at a £10,195 – too much for a car that isn’t refined or sharp to drive. In fact, I think the £8395 1.0 1 Air model makes the most financial sense.
Week ending September 9
Total mileage 1956
Driven this week 248 miles
I've just had our Picanto for a week, and reckon its cabin wouldn't look out of place in a far more expensive car.
The dashboard plastics might be hard, but they're also substantial and nicely textured. You even get smart metallic inserts in 2-spec models like ours.
It's only when you turn on the weak and tinny-sounding stereo that you start to see where money has been saved.
True, it does include a USB socket, but the one in our car wouldn't read my iPod – annoying considering I had a 230 mile motorway journey to do.
Week ending September 2
Miles covered this week: 72
I borrowed the Picanto last night, and was shocked to see that it’s averaged just 38.3mpg so far. That’s almost 30mpg less than the official figure, and is probably down to the fact you have to thrash the engine to make anything like decent progress.
My own car, the Honda CR-Z, suffers from a similar problem when it’s in its Eco setting. This limits the engine’s power to try and save fuel, but the result is that you have to put your foot down harder just to keep up with traffic. As strange as it sounds, you tend to get better economy figures when you leave it in the standard mode because this lets you keep the revs lower.
With this in mind, I can’t help wondering if the gutsier 1.25-litre version of the Picanto might have better fuel consumption than our 1.0-litre car in real-world conditions.