Kia Picanto hatchback

Price  £8,345 - £12,795

Kia Picanto hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • 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 greenest
1.0 2 5dr £10,145
The cheapest
1.0 1 3dr £8,345
The fastest
1.25 3 ISG 5dr £11,945
Top of the range
1.25 4 ISG 5dr £12,795

"The Kia Picanto is a stylish, well equipped, good-value and easy-to-drive city car that should be reliable and cheap to run."

The Kia Picanto is just one of a growing number of compact city cars that aim to woo buyers with a blend of low running costs, spacious interiors and fun driving characteristics. The Picanto's ace cards are its industry-leading seven-year warranty and genuinely roomy interior, but in all other respects it's outclassed by the Hyundai i10 – our favourite city car.

Meanwhile, that trio of VW Group cars, the Skoda Citigo, Volkswagen up! and SEAT Mii, are also more appealing, especially in terms of their design, quality and feel. There's also another related trio to consider in the shape of the Peugeot 108, Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo – as well as the rear-engined Renault Twingo.

The Picanto is powered by a choice of 1.0 and 1.25-litre petrol engines. The 1.0-litre engine (reserved for the more basic versions) comes in two states of tune, the least powerful returning 67.3mpg fuel economy, but taking 14.1 seconds to get the car from 0-62mph.

Unfortunately, the more powerful 1.0-litre isn’t much of an improvement. Instead, we’d recommend you stretch to the 1.25-litre, because not only is it more powerful, it's also about as economical in the real world.

The Picanto is far from the most fun you can have on four wheels. Its soft suspension soaks up potholes but means the car leans too much in corners. Overall, it lacks the sophistication of rivals such as the Citigo, but it is at least safe and predictable.

The model comes in three and five-door form. Despite its compact dimensions, it has a roomy interior that really can accommodate five adults. However, the boot, although well shaped, is one of the smallest in the class.

The basic Picanto is just that. Not only is it powered by the least potent 1.0-litre engine, but equipment highlights are little more than a height-adjustable driver's seat, an adjustable steering wheel, front electric windows and a useful 60:40 split-folding rear seat.

Our pick of the five-trim range is the Picanto 2 with the 1.25-litre engine. This spec features desirable touches such as alloy wheels, body-coloured exterior detailing, automatic air-conditioning and heated door mirrors. It also has Bluetooth phone connectivity, steering wheel-mounted controls and electric windows all-round.

The Picanto is a well made and reliable car with a seven-year warranty for additional peace of mind. Euro NCAP awarded it four out of five stars for crash protection, but all versions bristle with safety technology including electronic stability control, hill-start assistance, anti-lock brakes and ISOFIX child-seat mounts.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.6 / 5

As you’d expect, the Kia Picanto is cheap to buy and run. All versions will return around 60mpg

Engines, drive & performance

2.9 / 5

It’s not exciting, but the Kia Picanto feels remarkably grown-up to drive, while the larger 1.2-litre engine delivers decent performance.

Interior & comfort

3 / 5

The Kia Picanto’s interior is solidly built and attractively laid-out, plus it comes packed with plenty of standard kit.

Practicality & boot space

3 / 5

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.

Reliability & safety

4 / 5

Solid build quality and durable components bode well for the future, while a seven-year warranty adds peace of mind.

What the others say

3.5 / 5
based on 4 reviews
3 / 5
"The Kia Picanto is a stylish city car that offers low-running costs, a seven-year warranty and great equipment levels."
4 / 5
"The baby Kia very easy on the wallet in day-to-day driving, while annual running costs are also kept low thanks to friendly insurance groupings.”
2 / 5
"This is one of the cheapest cars on the market and its interior shames more expensive models. If only the Kia Picanto was better to drive."
5 / 5
"It's a big step forward from the original Picanto and feels as good as many larger hatchbacks, particularly from behind the wheel, where it's more comfortable and refined than before. It's a great- looking car, too, with a sharp front end and a sporty profile."
What owners say 
4.2 /5 based on 27 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
6 Oct 2015
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