City cars account for just a small portion of all the new cars sold in Ireland each year. In Ireland it’s the Hyundai i10 that has nailed this market. Now sister brand Kia has an all-new Picanto, so can the new Kia Picanto do anything to toss up the city car league tables?
Design tends to be one of the areas that Kia uses to differentiate itself from Hyundai with more adventurous designs. The styling of new Picanto is evolutionary but a definite improvement and the distinct tiger nose grille certainly gives the Picanto its own character.
The interior has also been freshened up, but hard plastics prevail. That’s not a huge criticism as it’s all solidly built and effort has been made to make it more stylish, with the quirky air vent controls being a case in point.
In Ireland, the new Picanto is available in base TX trim or EX, while both trims are available with an ADAS pack, which includes autonomous emergency braking.
TX models (from €13,295) have electric windows, electric heated mirrors, leather wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, and steering wheel mounted audio controls.
EX models (from €14,795) add 15″ alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, rear privacy glass, front fog lamps, speed limiter and cruise control.
The Kia Picanto comes with five doors as standard. Inside there is good shoulder for driver and passenger and reasonable space for this class of car in the back, but it will be more comfortable for children than adults. The boot in the new model has gone from 200 litres to 255 litres, which is one of the best in this class.
In Ireland, there are currently two engine options: a 67hp 1.0-litre petrol engine with a manual gearbox and an 84hp 1.2-litre petrol engine with an automatic gearbox. A 1.0-litre turbo charged engine is on the way.
The 1.0-litre is the emissions star with CO2 emissions of 101g per km and a claimed fuel economy of 4.4/100km.
The Picanto comes with a five speed manual as standard, with automatics available from €16,495.
On the road the Kia Picanto is a neat and agile drive and holds the road well, with light but accurate steering. There is some cabin noise at high speeds, but refinement is generally good for a small car. The 1.0-litre engine with 67hp in my test car is perky around town, but shows more limitations out on bigger roads where overtaking manoeuvres will need to be given plenty of thought!
The Kia Picanto is keenly priced, well-specced and while the 1.0-litre engine won’t set your pulse racing, the Picanto is undoubtedly a fun small car to drive that’s worth a test drive if you like your motoring cheap but cheerful.
Model tested: Kia Picanto 1.0 EX ADAS
Price: €15,195 (Range starts at €13,295)
Engine: 1.0 litre petrol
0-100km/h: 14.3 seconds
Top speed: 161km/h
CO2 emissions: 101g/km
Motor tax: €190 per year
If you are looking for a budget city car, you might also like this review of the Ford Ka+.