Kelly gives her view on the dirt-friendly petite Kia.
Kia’s Picanto has been a local favourite in the A segment for a number of years thanks to its attractive styling and bang-for-buck offering. With every new tweak, upgrade and generation, the Picanto honestly only got better and I’ve probably been recommending it as a starter vehicle for years. The current model recently underwent a minor revision with the introduction of the X-Line and my thoughts have changed somewhat in that I no longer believe it to be a great starter vehicle. The Picanto has grown up and now makes an excellent companion for any stage of your life.
What are the changes?
There are a number of design changes on this new iteration including a redesigned radiator grille, more aggressive front bumper, and a redesigned rear bumper. Throw in the faux skid-plate detailing, crossover-inspired cladding and mud guards and what you have is a little car that thinks it can- or a little car that makes onlookers think it can.
Any changes under the bonnet?
Nope. The Picanto is still powered by Kia’s 1,0-litre MPI and 1,25-litre MPI engines, with the latter doing duty in the X-Line. This unit pushes out 61 kW and 122 Nm of torque and comes mated with a choice between a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. We had the manual box on test. It’s not sprightly by any stretch of the imagination and unless you’re gearing down up any hill, it’s going to feel a little gutless. But if you’re already considering this vehicle I’m going to assume that how quickly this car gets you from robot to robot is not something that you are taking into consideration. What you’re probably wondering about is how much car you get for your Rands. Well, let’s see, shall we?
What are the nice-to-haves?
On this X-Line spec level buyers get a plethora of features and vanity upgrades including two-tone artificial leather upholstery, a new 8-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system that comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a reverse camera.
Perhaps this is me trying to cling to my youth, but I can see myself easily owning and living with this Picanto – a vehicle that a decade ago, I would have said is for students. Or perhaps the Picanto has, like me, simply outgrown what it was then.
With a recommended retail price of R237 995, the Picanto X-Line is certainly not a student buy, but the Picanto range is wide and there are others to choose from at a lower price point. Don’t let the idea that A-segment cars are only for the young keep you from considering this car. Like I said at the start, the Picanto has grown up and no matter where you find yourself in life, there’s probably a Picanto for you. Definitely recommend.