Kia Picanto hatchback
Price £8,345 - £12,545
- Well-built cabin
- Comfortable ride
- Seven-year warranty
- Odd feel to steering
- Styling is a little bit bland
- Rivals more refined on motorway
At a glance
"The Kia Picanto is a stylish, well equipped, good-value and easy-to-drive city car that should be reliable and cheap to run."
Compact, attractive and fuss-free, the Kia Picanto is a great choice for anyone looking for a no-nonsense city car. However, there are plenty of appealing alternatives to consider, such as the Volkswagen up! and its sister models the SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo. The Hyundai i10 is our favourite city car, and another strong contender in this class, so make sure you review all the options before you buy.
In terms of safety, the Picanto was awarded four out of a possible five stars by the crash-test experts Euro NCAP, and although it was rated highly for occupant protection, there was some concern over the level of pedestrian protection. Another black mark was the fact that electronic stability control is only available as an optional extra in some European countries.
The Kia Picanto is offered as a three or five-door hatchback, with the latter obviously more practical if you need a family car. The entry-level 1 specification is not very well equipped and only comes with a wheezy 1.0-litre petrol engine. So, if your budget can stretch to it, we'd recommend the 2 specification with the more refined and powerful 1.25-litre petrol engine.
An automatic gearbox is available, but it makes the car less efficient, so stick with the manual if you can. Kia also offers some special-edition Picantos, with smart trim and alloy wheels, but they're not really worth the additional cost and won't retain their extra value on the second-hand market. If you do a lot of miles and would like a diesel engine, you'll need to choose the larger Kia Rio supermini, as diesel power isn't available in the Picanto.
As you’d expect, the Kia Picanto is cheap to buy and run. All versions will return around 60mpg.
It’s not exciting, but the Kia Picanto feels remarkably grown-up to drive, while the larger 1.2-litre engine delivers decent performance.
The Kia Picanto’s interior is solidly built and attractively laid-out, plus it comes packed with plenty of standard kit.
Despite its dinky exterior dimensions, the Kia Picanto is surprisingly practical – it’s one of a handful of city cars that’ll accommodate five adults.
Solid build quality and durable components bode well for the future, while a seven-year warranty adds peace of mind.