If you want a small hatchback in the UK here in 2017, you are literally spoilt for choice. The Kia Picanto has always been a contender in this market sector, and I’ve been driving the new GT-Line model.
Small Car Small Numbers
This car is small. Hence the headline numbers are also small – for a mere £12,450, you get a 1.25-litre engine with 83bhp and 122ib-ft of torque. These small numbers are good for 0-60mph in 11.6 seconds and a top speed of 107mph.
This 3rd generation Picanto gets a new and lighter bodyshell along with a slight increase in its wheelbase which helps to increase the torsional stiffness which according to Kia means improved handling dynamics.
What’s it like to drive?
You may expect such a small car with a small power figure to be staid and possibly uninspiring, in the case of the little Picanto though, you’d be way off the mark. Driving this little car is both engaging and a real hoot. The steering is sharp and responsive while offering a reasonable speed of direction change; the five-speed manual box is pretty precise as well. The tiny 1.25-litre motor revs freely allowing you to work it hard to access peak power which kicks in at around 4000rpm upwards.
Overall the Picanto is fun, with engaging handling and dynamics, great job Kia.
Improvements all round
On the outside the GT-Line shows its sporting prowess, red accents add to the kerb appeal and twin pipes and two-tone 16-inch wheels add to the appeal. It all looks very sporty. This theme continues on the inside as you get more funky youth approved red accents all over the interior, this helps add a dash of colour and keep things interesting on the inside – other carmakers should take note of this as Kia has demonstrated that low price does not have to be dull.
The dashboard has also received a makeover, and everything the driver needs is within easy reach. Some of the materials used are a little on the cheap side, but as this is car costing only £12,450, that’s allowed. Regardless it’s an overall improvement from the previous generation in every way.
The list of standard kit is also excellent, including air conditioning, LED daytime lights and indicators and Bluetooth audio streaming which is all very useful stuff.
Should you buy one?
The new Picanto GT Line is one of the best small driving cars you can buy here in 2017, it’s fun, engaging to drive. Add to this the plentiful level of standard kit on offer and the sporty looks that prove that low-price does not mean boring and it is worthy of your attention.
Price: £12,450 Engine: 1.25-litre 4cyl petrol Power/torque: 83bhp/122Nm Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive 0-62mph: 11.6 seconds Top speed: 107mph Economy: 61.4mpg CO2: 106g/km