What exactly is it?

The brand new Kia Picanto – a vehicle that, inside a world where the Renault Twingo has turned into a platform-twinned Smart vehicle and also the Ford Ka ceases to exist whatsoever as after we understood it, appears like something of the grandee among city cars.

Now entering its third full model generation, this Korean-built supermini arrived in 2004 and helped to create web site for that modern European micro-hatchback years before Europe’s own vehicle-makers – Peugeot, Citroen, Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda or Vauxhall – might get in around the act themselves using their various, frequently inter-related alternatives.

Since European buyers have a lot of in your area-built options to select from, obviously, the Picanto is at risk of fading in to the background unless of course it may hit individuals pioneering high notes once again. Aside from the rivals already pointed out, it presently has full-sized budget superminis such as the Dacia Sandero, MG 3 and Ford Ka to deal with. Success in this crowded niche will require greater than it used to.

This latest version starts in the best place, though, having a lighter, stiffer physiology. After that it adds an extended wheelbase suspension and steering systems which have been re-specified in addition to retuned more assertive and eye-catching body styling improved cabin and boot space a far more upmarket-searching dashboard along with a revised engine range featuring, on its uppermost tier, a brand new 99bhp turbocharged gas motor that offers to do transformative things for that car’s driving experience.

What’s it like?

The Picanto’s top-of-the-range engine will join the model range later this season – earlier cars coming with similar selection of 1.-litre three-cylinder or 1.2-litre four-cylinder atmospheric gas engines. The entry-level 66bhp 1.-litre unit was the main one we selected introducing ourselves towards the new vehicle.

Kia states have switched the Picanto into probably the most mature and delicate prospects within the class, and there’s certainly lots of proof of where it’s spent its effort and time. The final-generation example might be a significant noisy vehicle they are driving, specifically in three-cylinder form, however the brand new one is a lot more civilized. The 3-pot motor starts relatively easily and works away in reasonably muted tones, until occasion calls that you should rouse it beyond 4000rpm and under lots of throttle – after which it displays sufficient three-cylinder charm to reply cordially to. Wind and road noise are actually both fairly well covered up.

Kia’s redesign from the car’s body-in-white-colored has added stiffness whilst getting 21kg of weight. It’s a useful saving, however it doesn’t seem like much once the engine’s labouring up inclines getting fallen off-cam in the greater gears. Dealing with a properly clever, light clutch and gearchange, the fir.-litre motor is potent enough out and about as well as on level A-roads, but nonetheless can seem to be from its depth on motorways and hillsides: a critique you can level at lots of cars of the size.

The Picanto’s ride and handling feel quite markedly altered. Gone would be the old dismayingly slow, excessively light steering rack and soft-riding, cornering-teetering handling gait. The brand new Picanto is really a vehicle that may ride just a little abruptly at low speeds however that certainly removes-of-town motoring a lot more easily in the tersely checked and level stride. High-speed stability is greatly improved, handling fact is good, and outright grip levels (around the 15in wheels and tyres in our test vehicle) are sufficient to resist a lightly passionate driving style.

The Picanto’s interior offers enhancements on passenger mind- and legroom as high as about 25mm, ensure that is stays as good as the class’ late-comers. On outright boot space it now tops the town vehicle ranks, offering proper 60:40 split-folding back seats where lots of rivals get by with 50:50, as well as an adjustable boot floor.

Material quality levels round the interior have leaped up a notch, too: the Picanto’s column stalks, ventilation controls and steering column adjustment latch all feel particularly robust. High trim-level cars includes a 7in floating infotainment touchscreen suitable for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, in addition to heated front seats & controls, however it remains seen what lengths lower the model range individuals more potent equipment features will filter.

Must I purchase one?

United kingdom prices around the Picanto remains confirmed, but Kia’s researching the market confirms how highly its customers continue being motivated by good value – so don’t be surprised a beautiful offering.

With the proper cost, this vehicle has become only a better engine from as being a strong option to the segment’s latest and finest European options, however. We’d steer clear of the entry-level motor unless of course your usage will probably be limited to town and city roads – but there must be plenty to recommend the greater effective versions.

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