Google tells us that “Picanto” relates to the Spanish and Italian words “picante/piccante”,
meaning “spicy”. The Kia Picanto does have a “spicy” look that could also be called cute.

This is one of the smallest and cheapest models on the Australia new car market.
However, it does have a fair number of the features that new car buyers are looking for.

The Kia Picanto GT-Line update for 2022 has revised styling of the front and rear bumpers
which is intended to see it through until the arrival of the next model that’s anticipated
within the year.

The shape works well with a cuteness that’s almost playful so is aimed at the young as
well as the young at heart.

Our car was black with red highlights in the lower areas of the body.

The styling of the dashboard area is neat with the screens taking up most of the area to
give it an attractive look. The seats in the GT-Line are well shaped and have a definite
sporty look by courtesy of the red trim around their edges.

As part of this update all Picantos now have an 8.0-inch infotainment display,
with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

There’s space for a smartphone and there are single USB and 12V outlets.

Picanto GT-Line has a four-cylinder 1.2-litre engine, which is less powerful than the 1.0-
litre turbo-petrol in the GT.

There is 62kW of power, and 122Nm at 4000rpm. Keep in mind that this is a “-Line”, not a
“GT” and this makes sense – it’s more about show than go, which is fine by many buyers.

Our test car had four-speed automatic transmission – yes four speeds because this is a car
that’s getting seriously old by today’s standards. As mentioned, a new model is due within
a year or so and we can expect it to be significantly better in its powertrain.

Somewhat oddly the manual is a five-speed unit so has more ratios than the auto. We
might try to borrow a manual to see how it compares ye-olde automatic.

Picanto only has a four-star ANCAP safety rating, and that dates all the way back to 2017.
Again, be aware a new model is coming.

This updated model has city-speed autonomous emergency braking. This is certainly
handy given that too many drivers are spending time talking on their phone or composing
texts and having the car after them is a plus.

Either that or educate drivers on the need to pay 100 per cent attention all the time. Okay,
I’ve always been a wishful thinker. You may say I’m a dreamer … with reference to the
late, great John Lennon.

There are two IsoFix points and top tether points for child seats.

This is very small car so legroom in the back is tight for adults. Kids under the age of about
12 will be fine but any older than that will have to chat with the driver and come to a deal
about sharing the space.

Performance is okay, though hardly in the “GT” class. If you’ve got 320 kilograms of
people the passenger seats and/or are driving up hills the Picanto will feel as though it’s
struggling at times. Again, the four-speed auto is a pain because it’s going to drop back a
gear and the engine jumps up in revs – as does the fuel consumption.

Though the Picanto is small it has a 2400mm wheelbase so it works well, even on bumpy
roads. The ride is quite firm if you look at it as being in the GT class it’s acceptable.

Cornering is pretty good and the lightweight makes it fun to drive on your favourite
stretches of country roads.

There is a 4.2-inch multifunction display in front of the driver. Both this and the centre
screen are reasonably sharp and easy to read without the driver having to take their mind
of the road ahead.

Official consumption for the automatic GT-Line we tested is 5.8L/100km on the combined
cycle. During our week with the Picanto we used seven to nine litres per hundred around
the suburbs and five to six litres in the country and on motorways and level-road country

Like all Kias the cute little Picanto has a seven-year, unlimited distance warranty. Which is
a huge benefit in this class as buyers are likely to be young and not have much of an

Kia Picanto is a cute little hatchback at a more than reasonable price. It looks great and
drives pretty well for what it is. Though it’s getting on in year and doesn’t have the latest in
safety features it should certainly get a place on your list of cars to test drive.




Picanto S: $15,990 (manual), $17,590 (automatic)
Picanto GT-Line: $17,440 (manual), $19,040 (automatic)
Picanto GT Turbo: $20,490 (manual)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Kia dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Kia Picanto GT-Line 1.3-litre five-door hatchback)

Capacity: 1.2 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 62 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 122 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Fuel Type: 91RON petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 5.8 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 130 g/km

DRIVELINE: Five-speed manual or four-speed automatic

Length: 3595 mm
Wheelbase: 2400 mm
Width: 1595 mm
Height: 1485 mm
Turning Circle: 9.4 metres
Kerb Mass: 995 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 35 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

Seven years / unlimited kilometres

Looks: 9/10
Performance: 7/10
Safety: 6/10
Thirst: 8/10
Practicality: 6/10
Comfort: 7/10
Tech: 7/10
Value: 9/10

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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