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Kia Picanto

THE BIGGER PIC (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

Kia's Picanto has earned a reputation as a no frills city scoot but the third generation model feels a far better finished item. Jonathan Crouch reports.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 37

In third generation form, Kia's Picanto is a little citycar that's big in importance for its Korean maker. Stylish, frugal and practical, it may just redefine the way many people think about this smallest category of car.

Backgroundword count: 269

Here's how we used to understand small car categorisation and the difference between Fiesta-sized superminis and their smaller, cheaper citycar counterparts. You paid extra for a supermini because it was slightly bigger, because it was better finished and more stylish and because it had more refined engines that made possible longer journeys. So where does that kind of thinking leave us with a product like this, the third generation Kia Picanto? It competes with the kinds of models we'd see as citycars, yet like many of them now, it boasts the kind of interior space a supposedly bigger Fiesta or a Corsa had until quite recently. It's very nicely built and acceptably stylish. And yes, it's quite at home attempting longer journeys. Here is the citycar, all grown-up. Where that leaves today's supermini sector is something we don't have to worry about here. Suffice it to say that most of what you'd pay up to £15,000 or more for in that class of car is delivered by this Kia. Other urban runabouts that have previously advanced that argument have either been expensive and/or three-door only, like say a Fiat 500, or have felt too cheap and noisy to really justify themselves as only-car transport, like a Suzuki Celerio or, I suppose, a Hyundai i10. I mention the Hyundai because that essentially is what this Picanto is underneath. Kia has used the underpinnings from this best-selling design, then refined them, improved the build quality and added a sharp new suit of clothes on top. On paper, a pretty effective route to creating a class-leading contender. Let's see if it's worked.

Driving Experienceword count: 234

Underpinning this Picanto's quicker, more responsive steering is a range of highly efficient small-capacity petrol engines. Three units will be 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 is introducing 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. 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.

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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: Compact Cars

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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