Editor: Jason “The Bok” Date – 07 Dec 2017
Economies the world over have been hit very hard by recent financial turmoil. The result of the hard times ultimately comes out in the form of less money spent on purchasing new assets, the likes for automobiles for example. Thankfully there is a compact city slicker with the power to surprise!
This is the 3rd-generation Kia Picanto, now bolder than ever. With its immediately distinctive LED lighting, more pronounced “tiger-nose” grille and neat alloy wheels available in either 14 or 15-inches in size.
Despite the Picanto’s emphasis on ultimate affordability and compact city commuting, with this latest generation model, the wheelbase has been widened by 15mm with the wheels now pushed further towards the corners of the chassis. The result is a more planted and dynamic drive and ultimately smoother road holding ability. The now wider C-pillar and rear overhang are now also 10mm longer.
The new Picanto offers more leg and headroom for rear passengers and the dashboard has been raised by 15 mm. Apart from the increase in overall interior and exterior body dimensions, this latest model offers a level of interior build and trim which is simply in a class of its own. I really like the combination of leather and material surfaces and the cabin ergonomics are impressive too.
The other very impressive interior element comes in the form of multimedia. Considering the sub R200,000 price level of even the top spec 1.2 Smart trim, the new Picanto features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto abilities bundled with its own intuitive multimedia interface. When you consider that this vehicle is aimed at the youth market, this is certainly a great feature to offer.
There are two engines on offer in the Picanto range, the familiar 1.0-litre and the more recent modernised 1.25-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine, as present on the vehicle in question. Both the 1.0-litre and 1.25-litre engines are available with 5-speed manual transmission gearboxes while some have the availability of a 4-speed automatic transmission. While power delivery seems little with the 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder engine offering 49 kW and 96 Nm of torque and the 1.2-litre, 4-cylinder engine offers 61 kW and 122 Nm of torque, you need to bare in mind that the lightweight body easily compensates for providing easily enough oomph on the go.
The rear passenger space is limited for adults but more than capable for those smaller occupants, the boot has also grown by 55 litres, with now 255 litres of space with the seats folded-up and additional 1010 litres with the rear seats folded in their 60:40 split configuration.
The new Picanto is available in four separate trim levels including: Start, Street, Style and Smart. There is the choice of either a 1.0-litre or 1.2-litre motor and the vehicle can be ordered in either manual or automatic. With its high levels of build quality, a wealth of technological advancement and cute charming looks, it certainly gets my vote.
SA Pricing & Warranty
1.0 START Manual R134 995
1.0 STREET Manual R149 995
1.0 STYLE Manual R159 995
1.0 STYLE Auto R172 995
1.0 SMART Manual R179 995
1.2 START Manual R150 995
1.2 START Auto R163 995
1.2 STREET Manual R165 995
1.2 STYLE Manual R175 995
1.2 STYLE Auto R188 995
1.2 SMART Manual R195 995
5-year/unlimited km warranty and 3-year/unlimited km Roadside Assistance plan