Kia Picanto long-term test review: report 4

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 rear seats

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 1104 Price £12,495 Target Price £11,852 Price as tested £12,765 Test economy 45.0mpg


19 March 2021 – small but mighty

Rear seat space is going to be at a premium in any city car compared with something larger, and as you can see, I struggle to fit into the back with the driver's seat set to my driving position – although, at about six-foot three-inches, I am on the tall side. 

The seats themselves are comfy enough, and I'd be fine back there for short journeys, but I wouldn’t want to sit like this for any greater length of time as my head is on the roof and my legs are pressed around the side of the driver's seat.

Kia Picanto rear seats

So if you have teenage kids and are thinking of a city car, it might be worth thinking about alternatives in the above such as the Ford Fiesta and Seat Ibiza. The difference in overall size between the Picanto and those cars isn't huge, but it can make all the difference. Children, though, will fit in the back just fine with two adults up front.

Unfortunately, without much in the way of lumbar support in the Picanto '2' that I drive, as well there being no centre armrest, I develop backache and arm ache after a good length of time spent behind the wheel. I'm fine for city driving and trips to the shops, but longer trips on the motorway have me longing for a bit more comfort.

The build quality of my Picanto doesn't disappoint at this price point. Everything feels pretty well put together;  there are, of course, some cheap-feeling plastics around the lower edges, but nothing that offends.

Cruise control is something you can spec on higher trim Picantos; it isn’t something I chose on my car, and you might think it curious to have something like that on a city car, given that urban trips are their specialty. However, I would definitely recommend adding it if you plan to do more more than just town driving, because it helps to take the strain off on long motorway drives.

On the other hand, once you're on the motorway, theres is quite a lot of road noise due to the relative scarcity of sound deadening material. However, that's one thing that contributes to the Picanto's relative lightness, and that has particular benefit when it comes to fuel economy.

Kia Picanto rear driving

The Picanto is still sitting at around 45mpg, and this sounds pretty good to me, considering the mostly urban trips I have been covering of late, and I've seen higher than that when being particularly careful on a leisurely long-distance cruise.

Although I'm discovering it may not be quite so well suited to the longest of journeys while lugging my video kit around, there are clearly many other strings to the Picanto's bow.

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