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Used Kia Picanto Hatchback 2017-present review

Category: City car

Section: What is it like?

Used Kia Picanto Hatchback (17-present)
  • Used Kia Picanto Hatchback (17-present)
  • Kia Picanto 1.0 1 5dr
  • Used Kia Picanto Hatchback (17-present)
  • Used Kia Picanto Hatchback (17-present)
  • Used Kia Picanto Hatchback (17-present)
  • Used Kia Picanto Hatchback (17-present)
  • 2018 Kia Picanto 1.0 T-GDi cornering
  • 2018 Kia Picanto 1.0 T-GDi rear
  • Used Kia Picanto Hatchback (17-present)
  • Kia Picanto 1.0 1 5dr
  • Used Kia Picanto Hatchback (17-present)
  • Used Kia Picanto Hatchback (17-present)
  • Used Kia Picanto Hatchback (17-present)
  • Used Kia Picanto Hatchback (17-present)
  • 2018 Kia Picanto 1.0 T-GDi cornering
  • 2018 Kia Picanto 1.0 T-GDi rear
Used Kia Picanto Hatchback 2017-present review
Star rating

What's the used Kia Picanto hatchback like?

After a few days living with the Kia Picanto, you'll wonder why most people would need anything larger. It's good to drive, practical for its size and decently equipped, not to mention cheap to buy and run. Long live the city car

You can pick between petrol engines of either a 66bhp 1.0-litre, a 83bhp 1.25-litre, or a turbocharged 99bhp 1.0-litre. The 66bhp 1.0 is just about sufficient, but the 1.25 is obviously the punchier motor that's also more refined. Meanwhile, the turbocharged 1.0-litre isn't quite as smooth as the 1.25, but is the keenest of the three. 

In 2020, the Picanto received a facelift, ushering in smoother styling, improved infotainment – including an array of telematics features with the ability to view live traffic, weather and even parking information or petrol prices – and more safety kit. 

Around town, light steering and good visibility make the Picanto a doddle to drive; however, you might find the ride to be a touch on the firm side – it’s certainly not quite as comfortable as rivals such as the Volkswagen Up and Hyundai i10. That said, it’s tolerable, and the payoff comes when you up the pace, at which point you’ll discover that the Picanto is surprisingly good fun to drive, with direct steering, limited body lean and plenty of grip.

On the motorway, the 1.0 can often feel out of its depth, especially uphill, so we'd recommend the 1.25 instead. It's more comfortable sitting at 70mph, as well as getting to said speed. The 1.0 turbocharged unit is better still, though not to a dramatic degree. 

Neither of the two original engine options is going to set bales of hay alight with its performance, but both will provide just about enough performance if you spend most of your time in town. If you want to take your Picanto out onto motorways and A-roads regularly, though, the 1.25 is much better, as the 1.0 can often feel gutless at higher speeds. Best to spend a little more and buy one of the later Picantos with the 1.0 turbocharged unit, as this has noticeably more grunt than the other two options. 

Inside, there's a handsome dashboard design with enough upmarket-feeling touches to still feel smart. The plastics are hard, as you’ll find with most other city cars, but they’re robust, and the smooth, weighty-feeling switchgear means everything you touch lends an air of quality.