Kia Picanto long-term test: report 2

The Kia Picanto is a fantastic car for the city, but can it also double up as transport for a roving videographer? We're finding out...

Kia Picanto interior

The car Kia Picanto 1.0 DPi ISG 2 Run by Oli Kosbab, senior videographer

Why it’s here The Kia Picanto has long been one of our favourite city cars, but is it more than just a 'good value' proposition? And how does it cope when out of its comfort zone – load-lugging on long journeys?

Needs to Be cheap to run, comfortable in town and on the motorway, and practical enough to live with

Mileage 1009 Price £12,495 Target Price £11,852 Price as tested £12,765 Test economy 47.0mpg

4 February 2021 – It's what's inside that counts

How luxurious should a city car be? In my first report on the Kia Picanto, I touched on the subject of specification, particularly inside. Now I’d like to talk a bit more about the interior spec of this Picanto 2 model, because I know this is a big point for people. It’s where you spend all of your time with the car, after all.

In 2 trim, the interior is nothing luxurious, as you might imagine, being just one rung up from the entry-level 1 and very much value focused. But it is, at least, built to a decent quality. It comes with what Kia calls "premium black cloth upholstery", which is what you and I would know as upholstery, but there is a smattering of glossy plastics, along with a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearlever to lift the feeling of quality a bit. Plus, even though it's towards the bottom end of the Picanto's trim line-up, you still get a reach and rake-adjustable steering wheel, steering wheel-mounted controls and air conditioning – all of the basics you'd expect, and at a price that still has me smiling. 

The obvious bits missing that would be must-haves for some people include a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone mirroring, cruise control, a reversing camera and heated seats/steering wheel. Most of those are available as standard with 3 trim, the next one up, and there are four more trim levels even above the 3 if you really wanted to push the boat out.

Kia Picanto front seats

Although I sought to cut costs by going for a 2 model, then, I now think that the best value is the 3 trim we recommend in our review. With there being a jump of only £1150 from the 2 to X-line, this seems worth it for extra kit you get, including 16in alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and the touchscreen with smartphone mirroring I mentioned earlier.

Elsewhere, the Picanto’s driving position is sound; the seats adjust for height and are supportive and comfortable. I am 6ft 3in tall, so for me it's slightly cramped, but I’d expect this in most city cars. Visibility is excellent, and the Picanto has got a small footprint, so I don’t miss parking sensors or a rear-view camera.

My feet, however, don’t think much of the pedals, which feel small and light, and the clutch has a rather vague action. Maybe I'll get better used to them with more miles under my belt.

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