There are three engine choices for the Picanto, and all of them are small petrols. There’s a naturally aspirated (non-turbo) 1.0-litre three-cylinder, the same engine with a turbocharger (so more oomph, basically), or a 1.2 four-cylinder. A five-speed manual gearbox comes as standard on both, and a four-speed auto is available on the 1.2 as an option.
The naturally aspirated 1.0 is the cheapest engine to buy, and makes sense if you spend most of your time in and around town. It needs to be worked much harder elsewhere though – motorway slip road dashes and country road overtakes require patience and revs.
The 1.2 is hardly quick itself, but still has a bit more zip than the equivalent engine in the i10. Plus it revs more keenly than the 1.0 and its extra pull from low revs is certainly handy for swifter overtakes. It’s the engine we’d recommend, with the caveat that we’re yet to try the turbocharged 1.0 motor.
For the gearbox, we’d suggest you stick with the five-speed manual, which makes better use of the engine’s performance than the optional four-speed automatic.