Kia’s smallest car turns on the style and is packed with kit.
- Stylish yet practical body style
- Well-equipped, well-made interior
- Plenty of trims to choose from
- Easy to drive
- Big boot for its size
- Engines need working hard
- Styling may be fussy for some
- Slightly higher running costs than rivals
Since going on sale in 2011, the outgoing Kia Picanto found more than 1.4 million homes during its life-cycle, with more than 300,000 of these in Europe.
Kia’s smallest model in the line-up is important – it’s the fourth best-selling model in the UK range. The new one aims to continue that success by following the Korean company’s philosophy of a great ownership prospect for customers with a combination of sporty styling, a generous equipment tally and practicality.
The new Picanto’s wheelbase has grown 15mm over the old model and the wheels are closer to the edges of the car, aiming to improve interior space and provide a more grown-up, refined driving experience.
With competition from the Hyundai i10, the Volkswagen Up/Skoda Citigo/SEAT Mii triumvirate, Vauxhall Viva, Renault Twingo and Peugeot 108/Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo, the new Kia Picanto has a job on its hands if it wants to dominate the city car class.
Kia’s family look is present and correct
From the outside, the new Picanto is instantly recognisable as being part of the Kia family with its tiger-nose front grille, big headlamp units and gaping lower bumper.
At the rear it’s a simpler design that looks more akin to its predecessor than at the front, but it’s neat with LED lights and a practical, wide opening tailgate for access to the boot.
Kia claims it offers more load space than any of its rivals, but you can read more about that in the Practicality section of this review.
Choice of three petrol engines
From launch, the Kia Picanto engine range consists of two petrol engines – a 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit with 67hp and a more powerful 84hp 1.25-litre petrol that you’ll find under the bonnet of the outgoing car.
Joining the range later in 2017 is a turbocharged 100hp 1.0-litre T-GDI engine found in the larger Rio and Cee’d, and will likely be a popular choice for those covering higher miles on faster roads, especially in combination with higher-spec models.
Familiar, well-equipped trim levels
The Picanto will follow the usual Kia numerical trim level structure – 1,2,3 – with sporty-looking GT-Line and GT-Line S specifications also available. All cars come with a radio, electric front windows and six airbags as standard.
The Parkers Verdict
With the 2017 Picanto, Kia has taken another step forward. It's a good value choice in the supermini sector, and puts up a stiff challenge against the mainstream challengers, such as the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa.
It's good looking, well made, offers plenty of kit and space. Combine this with Kia's famous seven-year warranty, and it's hard not to recommend this car on rational grounds.