There are two engine choices and both are relatively small petrols. The 1.0 is the cheaper option and makes sense if you spend most of your time in and around town. However, with a weedy 66bhp, unsurprisingly it needs to be worked very hard elsewhere; motorway slip road dashes and country road overtakes require patience and a heavy right foot.
The 1.25 is hardly quick, either, although it gets the Picanto up to speed with considerably more zip. Plus, it revs more keenly than the 1.0 and its extra pull from low revs is useful for overtaking. It’s definitely the engine we’d recommend. But venture onto the outside lane of the motorway, or encounter a moderate incline on a faster A-road, and you'll still find yourself changing down a gear or two and using the lower reaches of the accelerator pedal.
We’d suggest you stick with the five-speed manual gearbox, which makes better use of the engine’s performance than the optional four-speed automatic.