NEW Kia Picanto

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A few months ago we bought news of Hyundai’s new i10. Now unsurprisingly Kia is launching its latest Picanto. Why is it not surprising? The Kia Picanto is the sister car to the i10. So whilst some of the things on both cars will be the same Kia has given some unique upgrades and changes to the car. One of the biggest things to be changed is that there will be a GT line with a sporty edge.

Engines and performance

Three engine options will be available for the Picanto; 1-litre petrol or 1.25-litre petrol naturally aspirated engines and in the later part of 2017 a 1-litre petrol turbocharged unit. The 1-litre engine (non-turbo) offers 66 BHP and low co2 emissions of just 89g/km. the 1.25 engine offers 84 BHP and slightly higher co2 of 104g/km. The 1-litre turbocharged engine will produce 98BHP. As yet there is no word on the acceleration times or MPG figures for the Picanto. However based on the i10’s figures 0-60 will take between 12 and 15 seconds in the 1 litre and 1.2-litre engines. MPG should be somewhere between 40 (urban) and 70/80 (extra urban) which is respectable for cars in their class. However the turbocharged 1 litre should be producing a quicker time, hopefully in the sub-ten second’s category.

Transmission options for the Kia are either a 5-speed manual or a 4 speed automatic. For this end of the market, the Picanto’s options are what you would expect. For the gearboxes they are respectable, a 6 speed would not be worth initialisation on such a small car as the benefits would be minimal next to the cost and additional weight. The main downside to the Picanto’s performance is the lack of it, 0-60 in over 12 seconds is quite pedestrian. The claimed mpg is high it is going to be lost when you need to put your foot down to get up to speed or overtake.

Under the bonnet

The car has had changes made to improve its ride and handling such as an extended wheelbase. This has included modification to the suspension to give greater ride stability, and better handling response. Part of this has included stiffer anti-roll bars. The changes that have been made are also meant to help reduce “nose diving” under breaking.  Other changes made include the steering rack which is now 13% quicker. To help with the steering and breaking the Picanto also includes Torque vectoring braking in addition to the ESC. This is one of the only cars in its class to offer this feature. The changes made under the bonnet have been aimed at improvements to handling and safety and should offer a better experience for the owners.

The Boring useful bits

Kia has now dropped the 3 door version of the Picanto, opting to only offer a 5 door version, to ensure maximum practicality. Whilst the new car is not any bigger than the previous car the longer wheelbase and rear overhang has freed up more cabin and boot space. Not only will this mean increased comfort with more space for occupants, it also helps to make the car more practical. The boot size has benefitted hugely from this with a 55-litre increase to 255 litres. The floor in the boot can also be raised or lowered to create additional space or create under seat storage. The seats have a 60:40 folding split with the option of either 4 (includes armrest instead of the 5th seat) or 5 seats. The seats are on a flat folding system which gives a large loading space of 1010 litres.

Whilst these changes have meant improved luggage capacity and rear passenger comfort, Kia has also integrated fully adjustable front seats which include headrest adjustability. Whilst this isn’t something that would be mentioned in most reviews it is worth pointing out as for this class of vehicle it is not always the same. The rear seat angle has also been adjusted in order to make the car more comfortable. These changes have been made in order that on longer journeys there is more comfort than before, Kia recognises that many city cars are used on longer journeys and not just around town. This has also been added to with improved cabin insulation to reduce road noise and vibrations, Kia is boasting that this is the quietest cabin of any A segment model.

Geek specs

The Kia can be specified with a 7inch touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard, this can include 3d mapping and is available with Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Rear parking camera with guidelines can also be specified. However, this seems to be a little excessive for a car of this size. On a more practical side, wireless and USB charging is available on the car as optional extras.

Unlike its sister car, Kia hasn’t told us of any cruise control or phone calling facilities that can be given. It seems that the Picanto may be less well equipped than its Hyundai counterpart. This is something that might be reflected in the price when details are released.

Safety

The safety spec of this car has been considerably upgraded. This has been helped by using Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) which improves strength as well as a decrease of 23KG in weight. Along with the increase in strength, the Kia has benefited from 6 standard airbags (front, front side and curtain airbags) with additional optional knee airbags. These will help to ensure occupant safety in the event of a crash. Other safety features include Vehicle Stability management and ESC to help keep the car stable under braking and cornering and combating a loss of traction to keep the car on course. The Picanto will also be available with Autonomous emergency braking, which is an automatic brake for the city and urban environments.

Whilst the Picanto has not been laced with electronic safety aids, the increase in strength and structure will mean that in a crash the car will be safer than previous generations. The new Kia has not been Euro NCAP tested as yet but the changes made may see an increase from the 4 stars given to the previous generation.

GT Line

This version will be launched with the companies’ sportier models. The Picanto will benefit from a different exhaust system and a “sporty” paint job along with bodywork tweaks. The inside will also reflect this. This version is yet to have full details announced but will presumably feature a tuned up version of the 1-litre turbo due later this year. Whilst no major “under the bonnet” changes have been listed the improved handling characteristics of the Picanto should make for a fun small GT Line car.

Final thoughts

Whilst prices are yet to be announced the car will be seen at Geneva in March. Kia has worked hard to increase; luggage capacity, safety and comfort. The changes made have mostly been made to the Hyundai i10 as well. However, as both cars share a lot of the same parts; the i10 has a technological edge over the Kia. Whilst the GT Line offers something different the lack of details on its potential performance means we need more details to see what is has over an i10. With a 7 year/100,000 mile warranty on the Kia, it could be seen as a good long-term car investment. You could also argue how much of the technology available in the i10 would be used by its driver. In conclusion choosing between a Picanto and i10 comes down to money and we don’t have the figures available. A VW UP is still worth looking at and has a 5 star Euro NCAP rating.

 

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