Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
If you’re paying with cash, the Kia Picanto is the slightly cheaper alternative to an equivalent Hyundai i10 or Volkswagen Up, but pricier than the supremely good value and bigger Dacia Sandero. PCP finance deals are competitive, but rivals like the i10 have slightly better resale values.
Running costs should be cheap. The Picanto is generally less to insure than an i10 and the 1.0 MPi engine is really frugal.
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 automatic lights, a trip computer, remote central locking and electric front windows. The Sandero is even more spartan, but it's also a lot cheaper.
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 visibility aids 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 those luxuries back in and more, but are too pricey for us to recommend.
The Picanto didn't do that well in our 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey, proving less dependable than the Toyota Aygo and Up – it came higher than the Suzuki Ignis, though. Kia as a brand finished in a very respectable seventh place (out of 31 brands) behind Toyota and Hyundai, but better than many of its other key rivals.
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 competitor.
Safety and security
Every Picanto gets six airbags as standard, and all trims apart from '1' 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'.
This safety pack makes all the difference, according to Euro NCAP, because without it, 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 Aygo or Up.
All Picantos come 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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