Kia Picanto 1.25 GT-Line18 | 05 | 2017Scotcars rating

    Kia gives its topselling city car a new look as it targets style-conscious young buyers

    KIA IS PLANNING to capture a sizeable share of the city car market with its 2017 Picanto. And the Korean car manufacturer is boosting its hopes by introducing a new sporty GT-Line to the range.

    As buyers’ expectations increase — even in the growing and ever-more competitive city car market, with the likes of the Hyundai i10 and VW Up — Kia knew it would need to improve its Picanto package over the previous two generations.

    While the previous Picanto models were good sellers, they weren’t exactly eye-catching. Not did they have that sense of styling which makes you feel chuffed as you walk up to open the car’s door.

    Now though that’s changed, especially in the shape of the Picanto GT-Line. There’s no question it’s a bit of a looker, with its 16in alloys, chunky front and rear bumpers. There’s even a twin exhaust.

    Ok, before we get too carried away here, it’s probably worth mentioning here that the test car had an 83bhp, 1.25-litre petrol engine tucked under the bonnet. Capable of covering 0-62mph in 12.0secs, it emits 106g/km CO2 and returns 61.4mpg at the pumps. Price? £12,450. The 2017 Picanto range starts at £9450 and rises to £14,445.


    There’s also a 1.0-litre petrol in the range, which will be joined in the autumn by Kia’s new 1.0 T-GDI turbocharged petrol direct injection engine.

    Now we’ve cleared that up, Kia believes the new GT-Line will attract a growing number of style-conscious young buyers.

    The 2017 Picanto comes in five trim levels; 1, 2, 3, GT-Line and GT-Line S. The GT-Line is based on the mid-range 2 trim.

    So, inside the cabin you get black and red faux leather seats and stainless steel pedals. And while it gets a touchscreen system which includes Bluetooth, it’s strange — given its young target audience — that the system doesn’t include the built-in sat nav and Apple CarPlay found in the 7in colour touchscreen system found in the 3 trim.


    What is more significant though is the fact the third-gen Picanto has a revised, lighter bodyshell mated to a longer wheelbase and boasting greater torsional stiffness. And in this world of ever-evolving autonomous driving, the Kia city car gets emergency braking system as standard across the range.

    The Picanto is in its element darting around the city. I promise it’ll put a smile on your face. Visibility, as you would expect, is brilliant all-round, and it’s a manoeuvrable and responsive wee car. The light and precise steering makes coping with Tesco car park on a Friday morning a dawdle.

    In fact, it’s so titchy you wonder why anyone would need the rear parking sensor and cameras available on higher trims. But each to their own.


    And when you need to take the Picanto out on to a twisty B-road, you’ll find yourself flicking up and down the gears as you maximise the fun and further increase the smile on your face.

    While it’s important you remember the 83bhp, 1.2-litre engine has been geared to provide ample power for stop-start city driving, you’ll not find it wanting at higher speeds. Once it gets up motorway speeds, the Picanto feels reassuring and comfortable.

    That said, it’s obviously not a car you’d regularly want to travel a few hundred miles in one go in. But for the occasional trip out to the Scottish countryside, it’s perfect.

    That experience is helped by the fact the new Picanto has plenty of comfortable space for front occupants — though it could do with a tad more adjustment options for seating and steering — and there’s a decent sized boot.


    Ok, the dashboard is unlikely to win any awards for innovative, modern looks, but all the important buttons are comfortably within reach and do their job.

    It’s fair to say, if you’re in the market for an affordable city car, the Picanto should definitely be on your list for test driving.

    There are though questions you should also consider; and they focus on looks over substance.

    Do you want the external looks of the GT-Line, or would you be better spending another 200 quid on the 3 trim and getting that 7in touchscreen and a host of extra kit. The downside? The car  doesn’t look as good as a 3.

    There is another option, but it’s a pricey one. You could go for the GT-Line S, which offers the best of both … but it’ll cost you an extra £2000. your call.

    Related: New Kia Picanto costs from £9450

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    Jim McGill

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £12,450 / £12,450
    Engine / Power: 1248cc 4cyl petrol with 5sp manual / 83bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 12.0sec / Max 107mph
    How big/heavy?: L3595mm W1595mm (excl mirrors) H1485mm / 940kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: 61.4mpg combined / 106g/km CO2
    InsGP/Road tax: n/a / n/a
    Alternatives: Hyundai i10, VW Up, Ford Ka+

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