Ah-yes, the Kia Picanto, the one A-segment non-national representative that gave the national A-segment representatives a run for their money. This is one car that I have been hearing all kinds of praises from almost every corner of the motoring world and our writer actually love it so much that he is now a proud owner of one! So with the rave reviews in mind, I’ve been curious just how well the car drives that it has earned such rave reviews so I took the opportunity to find out during the long holidays last year.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the Picanto is known as the Kia Morning in its country of origin?
Like all Kia vehicles, the Picanto also has the same grilles that give the car its goldfish-ish looks. It is not the most pleasing A-segment car to look at but there is just that little something that helps the car fit into any situation it is put in. It looks good driven by a young working lady at the same time it also looks good driven by the male heading to his day-job.
Versatile is the word I’m looking for here depending on which colour you ordered the Picanto in. With proportions that rivals the Myvi also makes the Picanto the perfect car for the newly graduated P driver to learn how to park. Admit it, not all of us are that good at parking cars when we were first awarded the “hard” earned P license.
The interior is the winning part of the Picanto in my opinion. It seems as though the designers has thought of every little detail for, well, the ladies. That steering wheel has two spokes and, as if expecting a long tiring day for its drivers, the designers have added a layer of chrome rim on the bottom half of the steering spoke, giving it a permanently smiling face. As if the car is happy to see you.
You get lights on the vanity mirror and even a special compartment for your sunglasses in place of a ceiling handle above the door. The radio is framed by two tiny knobs to control the system and the air-conditioner’s controls are joyfully traditional. There is nothing much to complain about on the inside except that I couldn’t seem to find a comfortable seating position.
Alas… the biggest woe of the Picanto is that I couldn’t seat myself in the right driving position without cutting my blood circulation off. The seat is height adjustable but the tilt isn’t, the edge of the seat is designed just a little too high for a person with short stature to rest comfortably, so traffic jams were my worst enemy. The only solution was to adjust the seat lower and risk having the steering obstruct a little of your view outside.
All is forgiven though when I put the gearstick in D and started zipping around the urban roads. The way the Picanto drives is proof that you don’t need a lowered car with a powerful displacement or a massive car that are capable of massive stomach dropping torque when it comes to city driving. The constant traffic jams also gives the Picanto massive advantage as well.
The car has just enough punch at 120Nm to pull that adventurous overtaking move and is just the right size to wiggle into tight spaces for that shorter detour. I’m not saying that you should create a lane of your own on the streets of whatever city you’re in though.
Only when you hit open highways with not much traffic that you begin to feel the Picanto’s limited 86bhp of power. If only there are more than four gears for the engine to switch around with, the Picanto’s 1.2-litre engine would have been more comfortable to cruise around on the open road.
With an asking price of RM57,774.41, the Picanto is packed with a number of basic technology that even base-spec C-segment cars don’t provide. Like keyless entry and push start button, Bluetooth connection to blast your preferred music on the six-speakers installed around the car and, the best part, a power window that actually goes back up automatically for the driver’s side. Take that you B and C-segment cost savers!
You get six airbags inside, that is four more than its closest competitors, three-point seatbelts all around and stability control, so it’s no surprise the Picanto has received four stars at the EuroNCAP and ASEAN NCAP, full five stars at the ANCAP.
There really is nothing much to complain about the car, in the end of the day, this is a car that does not follow the usual “you get what you pay for” rule. While I think finishing could have been more refined considering the Rio was done so well, but the little touches here and there makes up for it. The smooth ride and the punchy torque more than make up for it as well. Now about that seat adjustment… Jerrica Leong
16-Valve DOHC, Naturally Aspirated with Variable Valve Timing, 86bhp @ 6000rpm, 120Nm @ 4000rpm Transmission
Four-speed conventional automatic, front-wheel drive Length/ Width/ Height/ Wheelbase
3595/ 1595/ 1490/ 2385mm