Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring


Kia Picanto a logical choice for buyers migrating up and down

Starting off at a price of R260k this hatchback might not be cheap but neither is it's built quality.


During the updated Kia Picanto’s recent introduction, the Korean carmaker’s local division was quick to point out who the bulk of the popular little hatchback’s buyers are. And quite surprisingly, despite being small in stature, it’s anything but a start-up vehicle.

The two largest age groups that buys the Kia Picanto are costumers in the their late 20s to early 30s and people in their 50s. This would indicate an upgrade from another car for the younger group and possibly downsizing in the case of the older group. Either way, this is a testament of the car’s appeal as these are all buyers that can differentiate between cheap and nasty and a quality product.

And while the Kia Picanto is most definitely not nasty, it is anything but cheap. At a starting price of R260 995, there are no fewer than 15 local passenger model ranges offering a more affordable entry point.

ALSO READ: Updated Kia Picanto shows why it has stood the test of time

Kia Picanto LX anything but entry level

And by keeping the changes to the updated model to the minimum, Kia has managed to keep the car nice and fresh instead of tampered with a winning recipe.

The Citizen Motoring sampled the R260 995 1.0 LX manual base model and was impressed with its generous level of specifications. These include an 8-inch infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth voice recognition and USB ports, digital instrument cluster, leather clad steering wheel with control buttons, leather gear shifter, keyless entry, electric heated side mirrors, rake adjustable steering column and height adjustable driver’s seat.

Kia Picanto LX cabin
The LX variant comes standard with an 8-inch infotainment system. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

On the safety front, the Kia Picanto LX comes standard with two front airbags, ABS, Isofix child seat anchors and reverse camera with parking lines.

ALSO READ: Finally here: Feisty-faced updated Kia Picanto prices confirmed

City slicker of note

While there are a few handy additional features like push-button start and styling enhancements to the tune of alloy wheels on higher end models, these are all things that won’t make much of a difference in everyday life. The hatchback’s main job is to provide an easy and fuel-efficient daily city drive and this it does with aplomb.

The Kia Picanto LX’s three-cylinder 1.0-litre naturally aspirated engine, that sends 49kW of power and 95Nm of torque to the front wheels via five-speed manual gearbox, is never going to manage in taking the Springbok front row to scrum practice. But it does get a child or two to school and their parents to work without having rev it stupidly high even at altitude.

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The 255-litre boot is adequate for daily school bags, laptop bags and a few bags of groceries, while average-sized adults and children have enough leg and legroom in the rear.

A light clutch, slick gearbox and direct steering make the Kia Picanto a pleasure to guide through city traffic. Measuring only 3 595mm in length, parking it is just as easy.

Kia Picanto LX rear
Not having alloy wheels didn’t bother us one bit. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

Frugal sipper

Its fuel economy was equally impressive. Without ever trying to drive it economically, our tester only sipped five litres per 100km. Had we tried, the number would have been even lower. This will result in a range of over 700km on its 35-litre fuel tank.

After a week in the Kia Picanto LX, it’s not difficult to see why motorists who have been around the block opt for this hatch. It’s a no-brainer.

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