By Ian Lynas, 23rd May 2011
Seven years after the launch of the original Kia Picanto, the latest generation model has arrived.
Five-door versions will go on sale in mid June with the three-door cars arriving in September; all variants will feature new engines and a choice of transmission systems.
The baby of the Kia family has proved to be a big seller for the Korean company; in fact it has played a major role in the rebirth of the brand in our market.
The new version will appeal to current owners but it should attract young drivers and those who are downsizing. Good equipment levels and attractive pricing once again puts Picanto amongst the best in class.
2011 Kia Picanto
Two petrol engines, a one-litre three-cylinder and a 1.25-litre four-cylinder make up the engine line up and I had the opportunity to try both on the press launch in France but my choice is the one-litre – it’s a real gem.
The smaller of the two produces 68bhp, whilst the larger delivers 84bhp. Performance from both is hardly startling but the smaller one is great fun to drive and makes a sporty sound.
If you need to go somewhere in a hurry however, you really have to go for it in third gear. To give an idea of performance, the one-litre car takes just short of 14 seconds to get from rest to 62mph and on to a top speed of 95mph, whilst the larger engine tops 106mph with rest to 62mph achieved in 11 seconds.
The good news story is the economy; the smaller engine is only available with a five-speed manual transmission but on the combined fuel cycle, it can reward you with 67.3mpg and the 1.2 litre equipped with ISG can return 65.7mpg.
New Kia Picanto
ISG is only available with the larger engine and it is a Stop & Go system. This engine is also available with an automatic transmission and it can deliver 53.3mpg.
When it comes to emission figures, the baby of the line up comes out on top with 99g/km with the 1.25 ISG at 100g/km.
The steering has a weighted feel and could take some getting used to; it is a motor driven power assisted system. However, it has dual benefits, it reduces fuel consumption and it eases parking.
The new Picanto is just slightly larger than the original, yet clever packaging offers more cabin space and a little more boot space.
I was impressed by the quality feel of the cabin; the use of improved materials lends the interior an upmarket feel and this will be a pleasant surprise to those who may be downsizing.
There are three trim levels which are easy to remember; 1, 2 and 3 and even the base model is far from being sparse. Models 2 and 3 feature Bluetooth with voice activation while 2 comes with manual air con. The ‘3’ comes with automatic air conditioning.
Every version has front electric windows, while 2 and 3 feature rear electric windows. Automatic headlights with LED projection lamps and daytime running lamps are another feature of the ‘3’.
There is a RDS radio and CD player with MP3 compatibility and all versions above 1 have USB and AUX ports, an iPod cable and stearing wheel mounted audio controls.
2011 Kia Picanto
All passengers are protected by a comprehensive security and safety package and all versions feature ABS brakes with EBD and an emergency brake system.
The new Picanto comes with the unique Kia seven year warranty and should you decide to part company with the car, it is transferred to the new owner.
The new Picanto is a very complete small car with good handling and improved ride, thanks to a number of suspension tweaks.
As a result of feedback from the launch in France, a new version called ’1 Air‘, which adds manual air conditioning to the existing ’1‘ trim level specification, has been added to the 1.0-litre engine line-up.
The ’1 Air‘ has the same fuel consumption and emissions as the 1.0-litre ’1‘ and is priced at £8,595 OTR, this is £600 more than the base model and £1000 less than the highly-specified mid-grade ’2‘ version. Deliveries of the ’1 Air‘ will follow in September.