Expert Review - Kia Picanto TA (2013-Present)
20 May 2014
The Picanto would appeal to the trendy urbanite who desires to stand out from the sea of Myvis. It has the most sophisticated exterior and interior of its rivals, with class-leading safety and warranty to boot. Pity it isn't a particularly engaging drive.
The 1.2 litre four-cylinder engine is more than adequate for city driving. Demand power in a hurry and you'll have to let the revs pile up before it comes alive. There are more free-revving and responsive motors in this class, but operation is smooth throughout. Slick manual throw, but clutch pedal is too light. Auto is par for the course.
Ride & Handling
Again, the Picanto is most at home in the urban jungle, where its over-assisted steering and small size make light work of parking and darting in and out of narrow streets. Spirited driving is not part of its repertoire, due to that light steering, considerable body roll and an abrupt brake pedal action.
A strong area. The Picanto has serene and civilised road manners, riding like a bigger car and keeping road, wind and engine noise well at bay. It remains considerably stable and composed even at motorway speeds. The fabric seats are comfortable and provide good thigh support.
By being the only car in its segment and price range to offer a comprehensive suite of six airbags, ESC and disc brakes on all wheels no matter the variant, the Picanto is sending out a strong message - not just to its rivals, but the Malaysian consumer - that safety is everyone's right, and it need not come at a premium.
There are rotate-retractable dual cupholders up front and a storage tray under the front passenger seat. Back seats don't fold flat. The amount of room is respectable for an A-segment car, but for this money you could buy into the B-segment (Mitsubishi Mirage, Perodua Myvi), and if you stretch a little you could get a base Proton Preve.
The base manual variant gets reverse sensors, auto projector headlamps, LED DRLs and tail lamps, electric folding wing mirrors, AUX and USB, while the auto variant adds front fog lamps, Supervision gauges, keyless entry and start, Bluetooth, a leather steering wheel with switches, two more speakers for six in total and bigger alloys. Five-year warranty, unlimited mileage. 'Nuff said.