- We like...Low price, five seats
- We don't...Harsh ride
A decent new car, with five doors and change from £6800? That'll be a PicantoSometimes, five into one can go. If you buy a truly tiny car but intend it for family use, most seat just four. Get a Citrn C1, Volkswagen Fox, a Ford Ka or even a Mini and that’s your lot. But the Picanto can squeeze in five, and even provides a full three-point belt for each.
To cram three in the back they need to be skinny, but the Picanto has an amazing amount of room inside considering how weeny it is. And its rear doors are big and wide-opening to pile them in and out easily. It’ll take three teenagers on a cross-town jaunt without them moaning too much – at least, not about the space in the car.
And all this for just £6795, which buys a Picanto 2. The entry car, called just Picanto, turns in at £5995 but has only four seats and packs just a 1.0 engine. Other Picantos have a 1.1.
The Picanto arrived five years back but for 2008 it has received a mid-life makeover, which amounts to a new face, new door mirrors and a smarter, better-equipped inside. It’s tough, looking, smart and well made. You don’t get the amazing seven-year warranty that covers other Kias, but the Picanto has three years of Kia-backed reassurance. And our £6995 Ice model packs air conditioning, a leather-wrapped wheel and gearshift and chromy bits you won’t find on the 2, making the £200 extra Kia asks for it a bargain. You also get remote central locking, a driver’s seat that adjusts for height and a good radio/CD with four speakers. Predictably, the boot is tiny. It’ll take four bags of groceries and that’s it unless you drop the rear seat backs, although there’s also a space under the boot floor, created because Kia provides a ‘get you home’ tyre sealant and inflator rather than a spare wheel and tyre.
The Picanto loses out to newer rivals once on the move. It hasn’t the same ‘git-up-‘n’-go’ as a C1 or a Fiat Panda. And the little Kia thumps and jolts uncomfortably over urban road ruts. Its 1.1 engine tries hard but its 64bhp output means it struggles when pulling uphill or while overtaking on the motorway. It’s pretty economical at up to 53.3mpg overall, while its CO2 emissions are low at 126g/km, although not the lowest.
The Picanto’s three Euro NCAP stars for occupant safety in a crash are reasonable, if lagging the four stars owned by VW’s Fox and the Citrn C1.
For some, the baby Kia’s five doors, five seats and change from £7000 are all they need to know. But for anyone who wants a useful little car, likes what they get for the price and can live with its bumpy ride, it’s a winner.
- Engines1.1 petrol
- 0-60 mph15.1sec
- Insurance groupsgroup 3
Motors.co.uk value verdict: