2018 Kia Picanto S a carefully thought out and packaged small car…but there’s a catch.
What is it?
The all-new Kia Picanto light car. The first generation was aimed at new drivers, or parents of new drivers who were looking to purchase their child a car. There was one trim level, an automatic transmission and a decent amount of safety kit as standard. The sort of stuff that keeps mum and dad happy.
Kia is offering consumers more choice with the all-new 2018 Kia Picanto range. Motorists can now choose between to trim levels and whether they want to change gears themselves or if they want to leave the cog swapping to the Picanto.
What’s it cost?
The 2018 Kia Picanto is pretty cheap. The range starts at with the Picanto S manual from $14,190 through to the Picanto S automatic which is priced $15,690 plus on roads.
We tested the Kia Picanto S automatic. Kia has been very clever in selecting standard equipment for the Picanto S. It’s cheap, but it’s also clever and it certainly isn’t sparse. Standard equipment includes Autonomous Emergency Braking, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, six airbags, anti-lock brakes – with discs at all four corners, electric windows and air conditioning.
As per all new Kias, the Picanto range is covered by Kia’s seven year/unlimited kilometre warranty.
What’s it go like?
Slow but steady. All models in the 2018 Kia Picanto range are powered by a 1.25 litre four-cylinder engine that develops a meagre 62kW @ 6000rpm and 122Nm @ 4000rpm and is mated to a four-speed automatic that drives the front wheels.
That four-speed auto feels old, and at times it feels like the gearbox just doesn’t know how to extract the best from the engine, which by the way, is more at home in the city rather than on hilly country roads.
Off the line though, the engine is eager and peppy, perfect for around town. Official fuel consumption figures are 5.8 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle.
Handling is perfect for a car that’s a born city slicker. The steering is quick and light without feeling vague and the Picanto just feels nippy. The ride, though, can disintegrate quickly, and can be firm and even choppy at times. But then again, the Picanto S is cheap motoring a luxury cruiser it is not.
What’s it like inside?
In a nutshell? Very cleverly packaged. The front two occupants have ample head, lead and shoulder room and the Picanto feels spacious as opposed to small and tinny. Up the back, you will fit two adults – three very small people at a pinch – up to six feet tall. Legroom is at a premium, but because the front seats are mounted high, rear passengers can easily slide their feet underneath. However, we’d only recommend the backseats for adults for very short journeys.
The seats themselves are a little flat and a little unsupportive. They’re not overly uncomfortable though and they’re fit for purpose and more than adequate for a car that will be predominately used for A to B transport.
The interior design is typically Kia. There’s that infotainment screen that juts out the top of the dashboard, sensible ergonomics, VW-style instrument gauges and swathes of dark (hard and cheap) plastic.
That infotainment system is well laid out and easy to use, and reversing camera imagery is nice and clear. The stereo is a little underwhelming, though.
Overall, the Picanto’s cabin is a pleasant place to be, and it’s certainly not a bad way to do budget motoring.
What we like:
- Equipment levels
- Relative value
- Relatively spacious cabin
- Build quality
What we don’t:
- Only has a four star ANCAP rating. This is a sticking point, especially in a car aimed at young and inexperienced drivers
- Engine and transmission can feel dated and underwhelming
- Cheap interior plastics
- Ride can be harsh at times
Sale or no sale?
Yes and no. The Kia Picanto S is great value for money and a decent package overall, but that four-star ANCAP rating is a big letdown.