Great value from

smallest Kia

Kia Picanto, front
Kia Picanto, side
Kia Picanto, front
Kia Picanto, front
Kia Picanto, front
Kia Picanto, front
Kia Picanto, rear
Kia Picanto, interior

IN these dark days - shutdown of almost everything we know and love - and the threat to so many lives, it's hard to think ahead.

But when it all ends - and it will - the world will recover, the pubs and clubs will be crowded again, the shops will be full of goods, the kids will be glad to be at school and the streets will be packed with people and traffic.

Everyone will love their jobs, every football match will sell out and we'll hug and kiss and shake hands again just as before.

That makes the isolation and the wait a lot more worthwhile for me. Hope it does for you too.

Before this all came out of the blue, I spent a week with Kia's smallest car, the Picanto city car, which competes with the similar Hyundai i10, VW up! and Ford Ka.

It's available with 1.0 and 1.2-litre petrol engines and I drove the 1.2 to see if it could take the strain of time with the Haywards.

It was very, very good in almost every way, even if it is a little nondescript from some angles, and good equipment plus a seven year 100,000 mile warranty make it something of a bargain.

The little 1.2 four cylinder engine has enough power for fair acceleration and it is smooth at lower speeds, only becoming a little raucous when revved.

But that's what you have to do to get the best performance from it, because the accelerator has to be pushed right down to the floor.

It will cruise at motorway speeds without a murmur, but there is a fair amount of wind noise and also a good deal from the tyres on tar and chipping surfaces.

That said it's very easy to drive and park, with a tight turning circle and short length to help.

The gearchange is reasonably slick and the clutch light, but the ride is lumpy at slow town speeds on poor surfaces and while it is much better at speed, it can still be unsettled on a rougher country road at 50 miles an hour.

It's stable and reasonably quick through the corners, with good grip and balance despite fairly slim tyres.

It returned about 44 miles per gallon in my hands, which has to be pretty good over both town and country driving, but this drops like a stone if you use the acceleration as it does with all cars.

Inside, the interior mirror is mounted too high for tall drivers, giving a poor view behind and if I bought a Picanto, I would remove it and fit a stick on one lower down.

All models have five doors - always a plus because it makes them so much more family friendly - and the boot is a decent size.

There is just room for one six footer to sit behind another, making it a full four adult seater, but tall people in the back will soon get uncomfortable unless the front seat is slid forward a little.

The ‘2' model comes with a good range of kit as I said above, including air conditioning, good looking alloy wheels, 60/40 split folding rear seat, interrnal headlamp beam adjustment, tinted rear glass and follow-you-home lights.

The drivers seat is height adjustable, but the steering wheel only adjusts for height not reach.

Still, the multi-function wheel is leather covered, there's a four speaker audio system plus Bluetooth, hill start assist, stability control, six airbags and an alarm system.



Mechanical: 83bhp, 1,248cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 107mph

0-62mph: 14.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 50.4

Insurance Group:8

C02 emissions: 114g/km

Bik rating: 27%

Warranty: 7yrs/100,000 miles


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