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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For Lots of car for the money; spacious and well equipped

Against Tiny boot; sluggish performance; choppy ride

Verdict Hard to fault, other than the fact that it's not a great drive

Go for… 1.1 LX

Avoid… 1.0 models

Kia Picanto Hatchback
  • 1. It's a remarkably big little car: six-footers will have no problem travelling in the back
  • 2. Residual values aren't great, so there are some good deals to be had on used cars
  • 3. Owners have complained that the impressive official fuel consumption figures are extremely hard to match in everyday driving
  • 4. The boot is tiny - it's certainly not big enough for a family
  • 5. Go for the 1.1-litre engine - the 1.0-litre is just a little too underpowered
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Kia Picanto Hatchback full review with expert trade views

Value for money is the most important weapon in the armoury of any city car, but the Kia Picanto offers impressive value even among its peers.

Prices are affordable, and for such a nominal outlay you'll get a car with an impressive load of equipment. And a surprsing amount of space.

There's plenty of room in any of the four seats, and six-footers will have no problem travelling in the back The five-door body style means easy access to the rear, and only the tiny boot limits its practicality. The dash is good, too: solidly built and logically laid out, even if the materials aren't particularly appealing.

If there is a problem, it's that the Picanto isn't a car for keen drivers. The engines are underpowered, there's too much body roll in corners and the steering is short of feel. The ride is a bit choppy, too, but for drivers who just want A-to-B city transport, it's fine.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Quite popular due to low new price. Numbers will depress used values

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

There are four versions to choose from, and the most basic S and GS trims come with the 60bhp 1.0-litre engine, which is only really suitable for city driving. It struggles to keep up with traffic on faster routes. The S comes with central locking and a CD player, while GS versions add electric front windows.

If you want a car with the slightly more powerful 1.1-litre engine, you'll be getting either LX or SE+ trim. The engine itself isn't too bad and, with 64bhp, the extra power makes motorway driving less of a chore. However, it still needs to be worked hard to get up to speed.

All in all, the entry-level 1.1-litre model, the LX, is our pick of the range, and comes with got air-con, electric rear windows and remote central locking. SE+ models add alloy wheels.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Very popular especially lower spec models 1.0 GS and 1.1 LX

James Ruppert
Used car guru

As a new car, the Picanto's great strength is its value for money – you get a well kitted and roomy city car for a relative pittance - and as a used buy, it's exactly the same story.

Residual values aren't great, so there are some good deals to be had on used examples, and there's only one problem: since the car has only been around since 2004, many of the used cars for sale won't have had enough time to shed a decent chunk of their value.

The Picanto's claimed running costs are pretty good, too. Officially, the 1.0-litre cars will return an average of 55.4mpg and the 1.1 cars will manage 54.3mpg. Be careful, though, because many owners have contacted us complaining that these figures are extremely hard to get near in the real world.

Insurance groupings stand at 2 for the 1.0-litre and 3 for the 1.1-litre, so whichever version you buy, premiums will be low.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Quite popular due to low new price. Numbers will depress used values

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Despite having been on the road since 2004, there isn't yet enough data for an accurate assessment of how reliable the Picanto is. Of course, this also means we can't really tell you which bits are most likely to go wrong, either. However, in the Picanto's favour, most of the used cars on sale will still have some warranty left to run.

The same goes for Kia's reputation as a brand in terms of reliability. Being quite a small manufacturer in the UK, the Korean firm is rarely included in reliability surveys. However, the omens are good, as most of Kia's vehicles have a reasonable record, and one or two (such as the Sorento 4x4) have proved rock solid.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Very popular especially lower spec models 1.0 GS and 1.1 LX

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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