Kia Picanto
Kia Picanto

Just like the Sportage, the Kia Picanto has undergone a facelift for 2008. And, along with the cosmetic changes, there’s a new naming system for the trim levels.

Before the revamp there was a choice of three models that went with two engine sizes; 1.0 GS, 1.1LS and 1.1LS Auto. The 1.0 GS base model is now simply, Picanto and the others follow on; Picanto 2 and Picanto2 Auto, Picanto Ice and Picanto Ice Auto and at the top of the range, the sporty, Picanto 3.

This brings the number of models in the range to six, although including the ‘Auto’ versions seems a bit of a cheat. Apart from the base model, all of the others house the 1.1-litre petrol engine.

The Ice manual and automatic went on sale in November of last year (2007) with the others hitting the showrooms on New Year’s Day. We tested the Ice with the 5-speed manual transmission rather than 4-speed automatic. There is quite a difference between the two - the manual is quicker, cleaner and more economical and, at £6,995, some £800 cheaper than the automatic version. However, with only two small petrol engines in the range, none of the Picanto's are going to be excessive in any way.

The base Picanto, with its 1.0-litre engine is priced at £5,995. It is the only one with four seats instead of five and the only one to stand on 13-inch wheels - the others have either 14-inch steels wheels or 15-inch alloys. It has to be said that the equipment specification is minimalist but then it includes everything necessary for modern driving, except perhaps, steering column adjustment, driver’s seat height adjustment, electric mirrors and only two airbags. But bear in mind that it is built to a price and it does get you on the road, which is especially pleasing to students.

This efficient 999cc engine produces 61bhp (61.8 PS) at 5,000rpm and 86.3Nm (63lb ft) at 2,900rpm. It takes 16.4 seconds to complete the 0-62mph sprint and the top speed is 93mph, which is good enough for the UK. The combined fuel consumption is 57.6mpg and the CO2 is way down at 117g/km.

The alternative, 1.1-litre unit’s vital statistics are similar enough to beg the question, ‘why bother?’ This slightly larger engine produces 64bhp (64.89 PS) and 97Nm (72lb ft) of torque at 2,800rpm. When mated to the manual box, it takes 15.1 seconds to do the dash and the top speed is 96mph, while the automatic version takes 17.9 seconds to don 0-62mph and has a maximum speed of 90mph. The combined fuel economy is 53.3mpg and the CO2 emissions are measured as 126g/km for the manual and for the automatic, the relative figures are 47.1mpg and 143g/km. So, the automatic might be easy but it is not as clean or frugal.

Published : 26/01/08 Author : Melanie Carter

Kia Picanto News

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