This segment is really growing and all manufacturers want a bit of the action. From Volkswagen Group you get the Skoda Citigo and Volkswagen Up!. During 2015 Opel introduced Karl to the world. Meanwhile it appears that Hyundai are making hay with the i10. Toyota, Citroen and Peugeot are sharing technologies with the Aygo, C1 and 108 respectively. Don’t forget the Twingo in the corner and of course Ford are nursing the Ka. Years ago Ireland didn’t do city cars but now we’re becoming more European, eco-friendly and even wiser. The Picanto is fighting its corner well.
By their very nature city cars aren’t generally packed with power, what they do have is enough to get you where you need to go. The Kia Picanto is powered by a choice of two petrol engines. First up is the entry level 1.0 litre, 3-cylinder MPi engine. This offers maximum torque of 95Nm at 3,500rpm and 65 bhp. Of course, this is not the quickest car you will find and it will take you from 0-100 km/h in 14 seconds. The second available engine is a 1.25 litre MPi, what this offers is 120Nm of torque at 4,000rpm and 84 bhp. This will take you from 0-100 km/h in about 12 seconds. Of course, most people who opt for any type of city car already know that they’re buying this for ease of city access – not for constant long journeys.
The Picanto is good at soaking up bumps and minor road imperfections because of the way its suspension is set up - however, once the terrain gets a little rougher than normal, you do notice a bounce. This softer suspension means more body roll in corners though and the steering could do with giving more feedback. Apart from that the car is easy to park and three point turns are incredibly simple in it.
If you take that 1.0 litre engine onto the motorway you will be greeted by the sounds of an engine under pressure. Getting up to 120 km/h takes a long time and the noise from the effort is very loud. The 1.25 litre engine is much more able for it. The car also takes in a fair bit of wind noise and when it is gusty you really notice crosswinds.
The interior of the Picanto is kept very simple and it’s laid out very well. The plastics don’t seem to be ridiculously cheap either. The seats to the front are comfortable but the rear is a bench and it’s very straight which means that getting comfortable in there can be a bit of a chore.
The first thing that every new Kia offers is peace of mind with their seven year warranty. It’s a true case of Kia putting their money where their mouth is with these vehicles, and we salute them for it. However, whatever car you buy please make sure you thoroughly read the warranty’s small print. Apart from peace of mind, as standard they also offer Electronic Stability Control, Hill-start Assist and Emergency Stop Signal. There are 6 airbags inside the Picanto.
This car is very small, so you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that it’s not spacious. However, it feels surprisingly big and four adults would fit in here without much difficulty. The back seat isn’t overly comfortable but whoever’s getting a lift in this will get over that quick. As city cars go, it’s very practical.