Derry Journal Motoring with Jim McCauley : Test drive the KIA PICANTO GT-LINE S

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Kia’s compact Picanto is the third generation development of its popular city car, which sits comfortably in the Top Five best selling list for A-Segment cars in the UK.

The upgraded model range is available with a choice of two new ‘Smartstream’ petrol engines of 1.0 litre capacity, and outputs of 66bhp and 99bhp. Test choice is the more powerful one, this 3-cylinder turbocharged version peaking at 4,000rpm with 171Nm of torque from 1,500rpm through to 4,000rpm.

Progressive throttle application with little indication of turbo lag takes this model from rest to 60mph in 9.9 seconds with a potential top speed of 112mph. Throttle response is accompanied by a sporty exhaust note and the car feels much sharper than the official figures suggest. Although considered as a town car, the Picanto comes alive on winding ‘B’ roads with sharp steering and updated suspension allowing you to press on. Further afield, it settles quietly at motorway speeds confirming how much development has gone into the car as the model line progressed. In its intended role as a city car, excellent visibility and tight turning circle with parking sensors and rear view camera to aid manoeuvring make it equally attractive with its ability to respond to many needs.

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Instrumentation is classic double analogue gauges for speed and engine revs with a 4.2 inch digital information panel in-between which can be set for a duplicated speed reading. Standard on all models in the range is the advanced driving assistance package which comprises of Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with supporting technologies including Hill-start Assist.


This specification level has the larger 8-inch central infotainment touchscreen with a comprehensive navigation system. Using Kia Connect telematics services, the information available to drivers includes live traffic updates, weather reports, speed camera locations and local point-of-interest searches.

The included ‘Last Mile Navigation’ feature allows passengers to continue navigating to their final destination, even after they have parked up and left their car behind. Once the vehicle’s ignition has been turned off, the app lets users seamlessly access Google Maps to complete their journey on foot.

The cabin is far removed from the earlier models both in quality of materials and equipment levels. The four-seater, four-door model provides generous front room with the seats offering good lateral support. The rear seats provide good head and shoulder room, while leg room is adequate. Faux leather upholstery is predominantly black with red side panels complementing the red cosmetic highlights on the exterior. Front seats are heated and the driver’s has height adjustment, compensating for the tilt-only adjustment on the steering column.

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This range topping model looks best on its larger 16-inch wheels with unique front and rear sports bumpers, a twin exhaust trim, rear privacy glass and electric folding mirrors.

Picanto interior.Picanto interior.
Picanto interior.

In terms of running costs, this range topping model has a combined fuel consumption of 53.3mpg and in a week’s driving on local roads, I averaged 42.8mpg. With a CO2 emission of 120 g/km, the car is liable for first year road tax of £180, falling in subsequent years to the standard £155. Kia has established its reliability on all models with its 7-year / 100,000 mile warranty, 12-year anti-perforation warranty and one-year roadside assistance. The model reviewed is listed at £17,450.

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