Preview: Kia Picanto

Kia Picanto (Photo credit: Quickpic)A few years ago motorists would openly scoff at the mention of KIA. It was seen as a cheap and shoddy import, much the same as the new Chinese imports are today.

But KIA persevered, leaving other weak and sickly brands to die with a whimper. Staying true to its name KIA arose out of Asia, with a few of its class mates, as a reputable manufacturer.

When the first Picanto launched in 2004 is was based on a shortened platform of the Hyundai Getz with either a monstrous 1.0 or 1.1 litre engine.

I remember walking around the car and thinking, “Yes it has the right number of doors, it has a steering wheel, the seats fold down, and it has wheels.” Everything KIA said it would, and to be honest the Picanto was just that, a very honest little car.

Now whilst not everyone would have raved about it’s styling, inside and out, or its performance, it was quite successful for what it was, a small cheap car. Over the years the little lady has received a few facelifts, with not much changing, with all models seamlessly blending into one.

This year saw KIA re-launch the Picanto, not a facelift a new design, in July.The Picanto styling now appears more energetic and vibrant, no longer content with being defined as just an honest little car.

The new model is longer than the previous one thanks to an extended wheelbase, which KIA say will increase driver comfort as well as baggage space.

The Picanto features the new ‘tiger nose’ grille found on all new KIA models, adding character to the car.

New features available in all new models include air-conditioning, an under-floor trunk storage box, retractable dualKia Picanto (Photo credit: Quickpic)cup holders and sun visors with vanity mirrors. A ‘gear shift indicator’ is available on the manual models to encourage an economical driving style.

Other features that are standard include AUX/iPod/USB connections for the radio CD player with MP3 compatibility, which lets be honest if you’re a manufacturer and you are not doing this you might as well give up and go and watch your betamax in your 1970’s home.

So what does it all come down to? What we have here is an affordable A segment car that now has some added oomph. It shows KIA’s progress, their evolution into a manufacturer can hold their own with a quality product that offers value for money. And hey I guess if you’re really looking for some sportiness they do now have a 1.2 EX version.

Model Price
1.0 MAN R 99,995.00
1.0 LX MAN R 107,995.00
1.0 AUTO R 109,995.00
1.2 EX MAN R 114,995.00
1.0 LX AUTO R 117,995.00
1.2 EX AUTO R 124,995.00

Justin Stephenson

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