The Kia Picanto is a city car that’s cheap to run and easy to park, but alternatives have more rear-seat space and are better suited to motorway driving
The tiny Kia Picanto is a brilliant car to buy if you do lots of city driving and don’t need a tonne of interior space. Its small size means it can squeeze through traffic and fit into parking spaces that most other cars can’t. It also has a seven-year warranty that no comparable model can match.
Talking of comparable cars, the VW Up is a better bet if you occasionally drive on the motorway and has more space on the back seat. Mind you, the Kia’s front seats are perfectly spacious and the design of the dashboard is smart, if you can get over the gloomy hard black plastics it’s made out of.
GT Line S and 3 models come with a seven-inch infotainment screen that is bigger and more colourful than that fitted to the VW. The Kia’s menus are simple enough to navigate and the system isn’t sluggish, plus you get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so you can use your smartphone’s apps on the Kia’s big screen.
All models get five doors so access to the back seats is good, although anyone approaching six foot tall will feel cramped. The same goes for the 255-litre boot, which is big enough for a few bags of shopping but not much else.
If you want a massive interior, though, you’re better off looking elsewhere. The Picanto’s built to zip through city streets and it does that really rather well – slipping through gaps in traffic that bigger cars can’t and breezing through width restrictions like they’re not there. Parking couldn’t be simpler because all four corners of the car are easy to judge when you’re slipping into tight spaces.
The Kia Picanto’s a slinky urbanite that feels more at home in the city than anywhere else
You can choose from two petrol engines – a 1.0-litre with 66hp or a 1.25-litre model with 84hp. The former is cheaper to buy and marginally cheaper to run, but you should still go for the 1.25-litre model that sounds gleefully rorty and isn’t painfully slow.
On the motorway, though, even the bigger of the two engines could do with more performance. In fact, the Kia never feels that home on faster roads. Gusts of wind turn its slab-sided body into a big sail, pushing and pulling the car down the road. Jiggly suspension doesn’t help you and your passengers relax and nor does the pronounced amount of wind and road noise that makes its way into the cabin.
Although Euro NCAP hasn’t crash-tested the Picanto yet, it is available with some tech to keep you and your passengers safe. GT Line, GT Line S and 3 versions come with automatic emergency braking which can do an emergency stop at town speeds if the car detects an obstacle that you’ve not seen – such as a car slamming on the brakes in front of you.
It’s worth going for one of these models because the Picanto really is at its best in the city rather than heading out onto faster roads where it feels a bit out of its depth. For more in-depth info on the Kia Picanto, read the interior, practicality, driving and specification sections of our review over the following pages. And, if you just want to see how much you can save, simply click through to our Deals page.