- Comfortable ride
- Great value for money
- Generously specced
- Not as safe as some rivals
- Not much fun to drive kit
- Smaller boot than class-leaders
Stylish, comfortable city car
The Kia Picanto, first introduced in 2004, is the South Korean manufacturer’s entry into the hugely popular city car market. Going up against the Hyundai i10, the VW Up!, and the Peugeot 108, the Picanto finds itself in a crowded, competitive class. The Picanto stands out by being one of the most comfortable cars to drive. It’s not as much fun as some of its rivals, but the interior quality, generous equipment levels, and all-round ability stand it out from the rest.
An update in 2011 featured a completely new car, with a new chassis, interior, design, and engines.
Quality cabin, but not the biggest in the class
For a city car, the interior of the Picanto is mightily impressive. The quality and design is easily a match for the more expensive Volkswagen Up!, and whilst there’s not as much space as some rivals, there is plenty of standard equipment on offer.
The dashboard design of the Picanto really is one that impresses. It’s not the most contemporary, nor is it the most customisable, but it’s well thought out, and controls are exactly where you’d want them to be. Material quality isn’t compromised either, as soft-touch plastics feature heavily. Everything feels well bolted together, and it’s a cabin that feels built to last.
Storage space is one area in which the Picanto isn’t quite as impressive as some of its rivals. It’s not the smallest boot in the class, with 200 litres of useable space, but it’s nowhere near as big as either the Hyundai i10 (252 litres) or the Skoda Citigo (251 litres). There’s still enough room for shopping, or a couple of cabin bags, but if you want ultimate practicality, it’s worth considering something else.
Equipment levels in the Picanto are, as we’ve come to expect from Kia, quite generous. The entry-level 1 trim comes with front electric windows, air-con, and a CD player, which is pretty impressive when you consider how cheap to the Picanto is to buy. The 2 trim offers the best value however, as it adds alloy wheels, electric mirrors, climate control, and Bluetooth connectivity.
Overall the inside of the Picanto is almost the complete package. It’s well-designed, generously equipped, and is build to last. It’s let down by its limited boot space, but it still impresses.
Comfortable, but not a huge amount of fun
The Kia Picanto is a city car that values comfort above fun, so the driving experience in the Picanto isn’t the most engaging. It’s great around town, as it features a tiny turning circle, that’s perfect for mini-roundabouts, and its light steering make it a great car for weaving in and out of busy city traffic. On the open road however the steering is too light, and it doesn’t feel confident when you throw it into a corner, as there’s also a lot of body roll.
What the Picanto lacks in fun, it makes up for in comfort, especially at speed. It can be a little jolting around town, and speed bumps do send the suspension rocking. But at speed it copes with road imperfections and potholes with ease. Body roll does become apparent on the open road, but it’s not unbearable. Motorway driving isn’t one of the Picanto’s fortes either, as road, wind, and engine noise seep through into the cabin.
Gearbox options in the Picanto come in two guises. The standard throughout the range is a five-speed manual, that performs reasonably well, especially around town. There’s also a four-speed automatic available as an optional extra, though it isn’t particularly impressive, revving and jerking through the gears like a rodeo horse let loose.
Two efficient petrol engines
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Picanto, you’ve only got one fuel option: petrol. That’s fine, because city cars are naturally better suited to petrol, but the two on offer aren’t quite as efficient or green as some rivals.
If it’s power that you want from your Picanto, you’re going to be disappointed with the engines on offer in the Picanto range. The most powerful engine is the 1.25 litre EcoDynamics, which produces 84bhp, and will get you from 0-62mph in 11 seconds flat. That doesn’t look at all impressive on paper, but it’s pretty nippy about town, and offers decent flexibility for motorway driving.
The greenest engine in the range is the entry-level 1.0 litre petrol, which produces just 99g/km of CO2 emissions. That’s enough to be exempt from road tax, but rivals offer even lower figures, so eco-friendly buyers should consider the Picanto’s rivals. This model is however the best option for money savers, as it offers up to 67.3mpg. Penny pinchers can save money on both road tax and fuel with this model.
Whichever engine you choose to go for in your Picanto, you’re going to get a reasonably efficient, green car. Neither engine is particularly powerful, and people who want to use the Picanto out of the city regularly should go for the 1.25 litre petrol.
Four star NCAP, decent safety kit
Like most cars in its class, the Picanto failed to achieve the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. Only the Volkswagen Up!/Skoda Citigo/Seat Mii triumvirate managed to achieve this feat. Nevertheless, with scores of 86% in adult safety, 83% in child safety, and 47% in pedestrian safety, the Picanto is pretty safe for the class. You’ll also get six airbags, electronic stability control, and an impact-sensing automatic door unlocking system.
Good value for money, as long as you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
Like most city cars, the Kia Picanto represents excellent day-to-day value for money. CO2 emissions are low throughout the range, with most being road tax exempt, and fuel efficiency is respectable. When you compare it with the class-leaders it’s not as strong, but it’s not going to cost you and arm and a leg to run it every day.
Insurance costs in the Picanto are also pretty cheap. The range starts in group 3 for entry-level models, whilst the generously equipped 2 is only in group 4. Only the range topping 4 model is particularly pricey, as it finds itself in group 12.
Depreciation is a large factor with the Picanto, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
If you’re after a city car that offers good value for money, an impressive interior, generous equipment levels, and a comfortable ride, the Picanto is a great option to consider. It’s not as safe as the class-leaders, nor is it much fun to drive, but it’s still a well thought out package.
Buying a used Kia Picanto online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Kia Picanto for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Picanto. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Kia Picanto online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Kia? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Kia Picanto, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Picanto, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Kia to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.