1.0 T-GDi GT-Line
dont have to spend £250,000
to own a car that stands out from
the crowd so cancel that McLaren,
save £235,000, and buy yourself a
KIA'S LATEST CITY-SIZED Picanto turns heads. Oh yes. And not just those
sitting on twenty-something petrolhead necks; style-conscious buyers of all
kinds and ages are potentially in the Picanto's crosshairs. With its purposeful
looking body this little hottie does more than just flash some high-voltage
kerb appeal. Get behind its wheel and you'll quickly find out this is no trick
or treater packing a pleasing punch and plastering a big smile on your
face are both part of the deal.
The sporty looks are reinforced by the GT-Line's planted stance and bespoke
16-inch alloy wheels that make a good fist of filling the flat-cut wheel arches.
The nose treatment is not quite spit-in-your-eye aggressive but it's definitely
got some attitude thanks to a narrow 'tiger nose' top grille, deep, flared lower
grille, and front 'air curtain' side grilles that are not just cosmetic
they really do channel turbulent air away from the wheels and improve aerodynamics.
extra definition are bi-function projection headlights, LED daytime running
lights, and red highlights to the grille and side sills. Prominent C-shaped
LED tail lamps and a rear diffuser with twin chromed exhaust tailpipe tips make
the GT-Line just as racy when viewed from behind.
cabin is smart and
sporty with red
bolstering and subtle red
is in very good supply
and the supportive seats,
that keep you located
and very comfortable on
both long and short
trips, are finished in faux
red and black leather
it feels just like the real
thing but means
you can carry vegetarian
and vegan passengers
with no issues...
Inside, the cabin is smart and matchingly sporty with red bolstering and subtle
red highlights including detail stitching and accents on the high-gloss black
outer armrests. Headroom is in very good supply and the supportive seats, that
keep you located and very comfortable on both long and short trips, are finished
in faux red and black leather it feels like the real thing but
means you can carry vegetarian and vegan passengers with no issues!
The neatly configured dash boasts a large 7-inch 'free standing' central touchscreen
with crisp graphics; it's also mounted high so it's very easy to read on the
go. From behind the good-to-grip flat-bottomed wheel (nice thumb cut-outs and
perforated work areas) there's an excellent view of the road over the short
bonnet. Slim screen pillars combined with large side windows and a fine driving
position ensure this 'hot' Picanto is a doddle to place with pinpoint accuracy.
Even the views through the dark-tinted tailgate screen are unrestricted plus
there's a rear wash/wipe for dirty weather.
The instrument panel is filled by two trad-style dials with a smaller gauge
(for coolant temperature and fuel) inset in each; all feature white-on-black
markings that are perfectly legible day and night. Set between them is a multi-configurable
trip display that shows all the crucial information you'll need and which can
be scrolled through using the appropriate button on the steering wheel.
Comms include the all-important Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with voice control.
The infotainment touchscreen works a treat but if you want integrated navigation
you'll need to go one step higher up the trim ladder to the range-topping GT-Line
S which adds SatNav and other goodies such as wireless smartphone charging and
keyless start. The penultimate GT-Line also provides Bluetooth with music streaming,
DAB radio, ample USB ports, a reversing camera with dynamic guidelines, and
rear parking sensors.
efficient AirCon makes use of straightforward manual controls that, unlike some
touchscreen-only systems, can be easily adjusted on the fly without taking your
eyes away from the road. Overall, the cabin's likeably upscale ambiance is underscored
by decent fit and finish.
while at heart it's a city car you don't go short on storage space: bottle-holding
front door bins, a centre armrest with storage space underneath the 'lid', and
a deep and spacious tray in the centre console at the base of the centre stack
with nifty retractable cupholders that fold away at the touch of a finger, and
a usable glovebox; should you wish you can use the well in the driver's door
pull as a handy coinbox!
to be surprised you
might think that the city-
friendly Picanto is just
that and nothing more.
If so youd be wrong.
Very wrong. Grab the
spoker and let rip and
youll discover that
beneath the five-door
bodyshell lurks a
particularly well fettled
chassis and powertrain.
Riding an all-new
chassis with an upgraded
suspension and a faster
steering rack, along with
torque vectoring to
further aid cornering
stability, these third
specifically the sporty
GT-Line are ready and
able to rumble...
amount of kit that's standard-fit on this GT-Line Picanto is impressive for
a car at this price level and, in addition to all that's already been mentioned,
there's also tinted glass with privacy glass to the rear windows and tailgate,
aluminium pedal set, on-demand powerfolding and heated door mirrors, power windows
(driver's one-shot op), automatic drive-off door locking, auto lights,
and rain-sensing wipers.
You also get plenty of essential safety systems including Forward Collision-Avoidance
Assist with pedestrian recognition and autonomous braking (maximum stopping
down to a dead stop between 5mph and 50mph plus partial braking with a driver
alert at up to 107mph), Electronic Stability Control and Vehicle Stability Management,
six airbags, a side impact protection system, height-adjustable front seatbelts,
tyre pressure monitoring, and Hill-start Assist.
The Picanto packs a lot into its 3.6-metre footprint: the back doors, like the
fronts, open to 90-degrees for easy entry and invite you in to a welcoming rear
cabin. An almost flat floor and three seatbelts boost practicality in the class-leading
space, that offers better leg and headroom than all of its other A-segment rivals.
The rear backrests are reclined at a relaxing 27-degree angle to keep it all
nicely comfy, and the deep side windows ensure interesting views out for adults
and youngsters alike. Isofix child seat fixtures are fitted and childproof safety
door locks add extra peace of mind.
Hot hatches usually mean short wheelbases which, allied to sporty handling,
beget a firm ride. Happily, this sportiest GT-Line is not so stiff as to spoil
the ride. It no doubt helps that while some carmakers might have been tempted
to go über low with the rubber, Kia have sensibly fitted 45-profile side-walled
tyres to the 16-inch 195-section alloys. Add in the composed handling and reassuring
stability at high speed and your passengers will enjoy a ride as good as a supermini
from the next class up.
Handling-wise prepare to be surprised you might think that the
city-friendly Picanto is just that and nothing more. If so you'd be wrong. Very
wrong. Grab that leather-rimmed three-spoker and let rip and you'll discover
that beneath the five-door bodyshell lurks a particularly well fettled chassis
and powertrain. Riding an all-new chassis with an upgraded suspension set-up,
including a faster steering rack, and with a body that's 32 per cent stiffer
torsionally (and 23kg lighter) along with torque vectoring to further aid cornering
stability, these third generation Picanto models and specifically
the sporty GT-Line are ready and able to rumble.
direct and well-weighted steering provides effective feedback and helped by
one of the best turning circles in its class, placing the Picanto accurately
at speed along twisty back roads and fast B-roads is a breeze.
you maintain your chosen line is sure-footed grip and nicely 'tied-down' driving
dynamics that virtually eliminate body roll around the corners so there's fun
to be had chucking it about not least because the GT-Line feels
agile and composed and you absolutely don't need to be a seasoned Trackie to
get the best out of it. The brakes are discs at each corner and it shows: strong
retardation pulls the car down from speed without drama, and in heavy traffic
a light foot is all it takes to bring it to a smooth stop.
beaver, its sub-ten-
time is what youd expect
from a more potent go-
faster supermini in the
class above; in a city
car, its as rare as hens
teeth. Given its poke,
the GT-Lines economy is
impressive: officially the
combined cycle figure is
48.7mpg but even though
we indulged its passion,
bombing around everywhere, we still
recorded an average of
44.6mpg during our week
behind the wheel.
Lighter right-feet than
ours could easily take
that into fifty territory...
The 998cc three-pot installed in the GT-Line's engine bay is a turbocharged
direct injection petrol-drinker and is the most powerful ever
in a Picanto, pumping out a gutsy 99bhp strongly backed-up by a healthy 126lb
ft of torque that's on tap continuously from 1,500 all the way to 4,000rpm.
It will accelerate to 60mph in just 9.8 seconds; keep the pedal to the metal
and it will run on to 112mph.
T-GDi (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct Injection) unit features a number of innovative
technical solutions intended to minimise throttle lag (the delay between pressing
the accelerator and the turbo delivering boost) and improve low-speed response
and driveability as well as serve up plenty of torque across a wide section
of the rev-band. This it does, coming on very strongly and providing all the
oomph you need for overtakes. It's also, and noticeably so, as well mannered
as can be riding around town.
An eager-beaver, its sub-ten-second nought-to-sixty time is what you'd expect
of a more potent go-faster supermini from the class above; in a city car, it's
as rare as hen's teeth. Adding to the enjoyment whether you're
pootling or pressing on is a quick clutch and the precise gearchange
action on the five-speed manual 'box. Despite the acceleration being happy-zappy,
the 998cc powerplant is never noisy although work it hard and you'll hear its
signature three-pot 'warble' no hardship!
Given its poke, the GT-Line's economy is more than good: officially, the combined
cycle figure is 48.7mpg but even though we indulged its passion, bombing around
everywhere on a regular basis, we still recorded an average of 44.6mpg during
our week behind the wheel. Lighter right-feet than ours could easily take that
into 'fifty' territory.
Picanto's boot swallows a useful and, incidentally, best-in-class
255 litres of luggage. And it gets substantially better when the
rear seats are passenger-free: fold the 60:40-split rear backrests down flat
and you'll find yourself with a rather voluminous 1,010 litres that's easily
accessed through the wide tailgate opening. If you want more loadspace practicality
the GT-Line S comes with a two-level boot floor.
For city pootling and commuting the Picanto is the perfect choice. The real
surprise is just how polished it is tackling motorways and long weekender trips
and tackling them with a competence few other small cars can manage.
Fun to fling around when you're in the mood, the GT-Line also comes with the
best warranty in the business: seven years/100,000 miles all transferable
to the next owner. Not that that matters too much because you sure won't be
in any hurry to part with this little hottie! ~ MotorBar
Kia Picanto 1.0 T-GDi GT-Line
Maximum speed: 112mph | 0-60mph: 9.8 seconds | Test Average: 44.6mpg
Power: 99bhp | Torque: 126lb ft | CO2: 117g/km