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Kia Picanto

PIC OF THE PACK? (some text hidden)

Introductionword count: 19

The third generation Kia Picanto proves there is a demand for cheap and cheerful - as June Neary reports.

Will It Suit Me?word count: 135

There's something delightfully unpretentious about the Kia Picanto. It's not trying to claw its way up the social ladder, nor does it sport a badge that'll have people looking at your car keys and casting aspersions as to what you've done to get them. Instead it's an honest to goodness city car that's simple to drive, costs peanuts to run and which is far from the dull experience that you might expect at this price point. You might well remember previous generation Kia Picantos, cheap and cheerful citycars that were really quite basic, both inside and out. While this model did a job in its original guises, it really was just transport. The MK3 version has a lot more about it and feels a far better quality vehicle. In short, I like it a lot.

Practicalitiesword count: 154

There's no doubt that this Picanto is now quite a handsome little thing. It's the sister car to Hyundai's i10 but it looks that bit sharper. It features the trademark Kia front grille, but it also exhibits deeply scalloped flanks with the door handles sitting perched on a sharp crease. Now available only in a five door body style, the Picanto offers a reasonably-sized 255-litre boot by class standards. The cabin is cleanly styled and again it's clear that Kia is forging its own personality on its cars. The 'three cylinder' instrument panel design is spread across the Kia range while the centre console brings the air conditioning and stereo controls within easy reach with big, easy to operate buttons. Metallic finishes lift the feel of the fascia and while some of the plastics are a little hard to the touch, the overall effect is an interior that punches well above its price point.

Behind the Wheelword count: 340

One characteristic that Kia was keen to carry over from the previous Picanto was that car's perky feel. Although the original Picanto was never quick, it handled reasonably crisply and the steering was geared such that it felt almost criminally good fun to punt around city streets, even if your speed never exceeded 30mph. This time round, three units are available to buyers. The 1.0-litre 66bhp and 1.25-litre 83bhp naturally-aspirated multi-point injection (MPI) engines have been carried over from the previous model, with a range of enhancements to improve efficiency and driveability. More interesting is the news that at the top of the range, Kia has introduced the pokier and more efficient 1.0-litre T-GDI (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) 99bhp power unit borrowed from the larger Rio supermini. All engines are paired with a five-speed manual transmission, delivering power to the front wheels. The 1.25-litre MPI engine is also available with a four-speed automatic transmission if you want it. On the move, buyers familiar with the previous model should find that refinement is much improved thanks to a range of modifications designed to isolate the cabin from vibrations and noise from the road, wind and the engine. The result is a car that Kia says offers the quietest cabin of any A-segment model, both at idle and at a steady cruise. As for handling, well modifications to the suspension are said to deliver greater ride stability and quicker, more enjoyable dynamic responses. The Picanto's revised dimensions also enable the pitch centre of the car to be placed further towards the rear, helping to naturally reduce 'nose dive' under braking without firming up the suspension and potentially compromising ride comfort. The good news for those looking for a grin behind the wheel is that much of the old Picanto's suspension architecture has been carried over, albeit evolved subtly. The front suspension has been tuned for better straight line stability, and you'll certainly feel the benefit of this on the motorway. The car also feels less susceptible to wandering when driving through crosswinds.

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Pictures (high res disabled)

Statistics (subset of data only)

Min

Max

0-60 mph (s):

11

13.9

Combined mpg:

50.4

67.3

CO2 (g/km):

99

Extra urban mpg:

60.1

78.5

Height (mm):

1480

Insurance group:

3

12

... and 8 other stats available

Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: Small Runabouts

Performance
70%
Handling
60%
Comfort
60%
Space
80%
Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

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