Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
If you’re paying with cash, the Picanto is the slightly cheaper alternative to an equivalent Hyundai i10 or Volkswagen Up. It will lose a little more of its value over three years compared with the i10, though, so when it comes to a PCP finance deal, the difference in monthly payments is less stark.
Running costs should be competitive. The Picanto is generally cheaper to insure than an i10 and the Picanto 1.25 MPi managed 39.8mpg in our tests on a mix of roads. That's a respectable figure, although an i10 with the 1.2 MPi engine did a bit better still with 42.9mpg. You're unlikely to get much better economy out of the Picanto's less powerful 1.0 MPi engine because you have to work it much harder.
Equipment, options and extras
Entry-level 1 trim is as bare as a derelict cottage, with steel wheels and no air conditioning. However, you do get a trip computer, remote central locking and electric front windows.
Move up to 2 trim and you get more of the niceties you might expect in a modern car, including 14in alloy wheels, electrically adjustable door mirrors, air-con, all-round electric windows and a leather-trimmed steering wheel.
However, we reckon 3 is the trim to go for. Its equipment bonanza includes 15in wheels, power-folding door mirrors, climate control and cruise control. It doesn’t stop there, either, because you also get the great infotainment package and upgraded safety kit that we've already described.
X-Line and GT-Line trims may appeal with their respective rugged and sporty styling, but you miss out on a fair bit of 3’s kit. S versions of these trims add the luxuries and more back in, but are too pricey for us to recommend.
The Picanto itself didn't feature in the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, but Kia as a brand finished in a very respectable sixth place (out of 31 brands) in the overall manufacturer's league table. That's behind Toyota in 2nd place, but one better than Hyundai in 7th.
Kia is famous for its seven-year/100,000-mile warranty, which every Picanto comes with as standard. That's longer cover than you get on any rival.
Safety and security
Every Picanto gets six airbags as standard. Higher-spec models, including our favourite 3 trim, come with the important addition of a safety pack that brings automatic emergency braking (AEB), which might just prevent you from having a front-end shunt. Thankfully, that pack is a reasonably priced option on 1 and 2 trims.
It makes all the difference according to Euro NCAP, because without that safety pack the Picanto gets only a three-star-out-of-five safety rating. That rises to four stars for models with the safety pack; a higher rating than is held by the Toyota Aygo or Volkswagen Up.
Every Picanto comes with an alarm and immobiliser as standard, to help ward off thieves. However, the Picanto might not keep your valuables very safe; the security experts at Thatcham Research gave it a lowly two-star rating (out of five stars) for its ability to resist being broken into.
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