I’m going to make a big statement, one that could rule me out entirely when it comes to commenting on anything motoring related. But I honestly think the baby Kia Picanto GT-Line is the best-looking car in the Kia line up. The GT-Line edition arrived back in April and we’ve just had the chance to scoot around in one over the last week.
What is it?
The third-generation Picanto falls in what they call the A-segment, basically a European term for mini cars. There’s no doubt the Picanto easily meets that criteria, the wheelbase is a mere 2.4-metres while width is just under 1.6-metres. But somehow this doesn’t translate to a claustrophobic driving experience.
There’s five doors and five seats and enough space in the rear to hold a couple of overnight bags. The cabin is built to a price clearly, but the GT-Line includes a 7.0-inch floating touchscreen, premium leather seats, alloy sports pedals and six-speaker sound system.
The exterior almost looks classical, like a Fiat 500. With LED headlamps and DRL’s along with a unique trim package with contrasting accents, dual exhaust and tidy body kit. This is what makes it the most appealing Kia to me, it just looks bloody great.
Behind the Wheel.
The Picanto feels fun even before you fire it up. You immediately get the sense you’re sitting in a high-tech, luxury go kart. Firing up the 1.25-litre four-cylinder won’t exactly get your heart racing but try and keep on your realistic hat here. The GT-Line also comes standard with a four-speed automatic, so let’s just say straight line speed is leisurely at best.
But the cars curb weight is just 995kg so once moving the Picanto starts to reveal its real novelty factor. Sure, it won’t slice and dice corners up like a finely tuned hot hatch, but the dimensions alone allow for an easy, fun and exuberant driving experience.
Darting around in city traffic is only easier for those on a bike. You can literally slip into just about any gap in traffic flow or parking spot to your hearts content. For example it has a turning circle of just 4.7-metres. The ride is comfortable enough, although with a wheelbase this short and basic suspension underpinnings the resulting choppy ride was always inevitable.
The steering is predicable, while the brakes have decent feel. It’s a shame there’s not another gear cog or that the five-speed manual on the lower grade Picanto isn’t an option.
Road and wind noise are kept at bay pretty well, although the various hard plastics throughout the cabin don’t create the most acoustically premium feeling inside.
Having a floating 7.0-inch touchscreen in a car of this size is remarkable. But having standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto really adds a sizable cherry on top. But it doesn’t stop there with other standard inclusions including a reversing camera with guidelines, the usual traction and stability control systems with the added benefit of clever torque vectoring via braking.
The 1.25-litre four-cylinder engine produces 62kW/6000rpm and 122Nm/4000rpm. A four-speed automatic sends drive via the front wheels, with the combo ensuring even the worst L-plater should be able to stay on the straight and narrow.
The GT-Line rides on standard 16-inch alloy rims up from the base 14-inch steel wheels.
Prices for the Picanto line lick off at $14,190 for the five-speed manual S variant, $15,690 for the auto and $17,490 for the as tested GT-Line, although the premium Aurora Black paint is a $520 option. Kia also recently announced a new Australian Open Special Edition known as the X-Line that starts at $16,990 for the manual and $17,990 for the auto. Claimed fuel economy is 5.8-litres, although our time saw it hover close to the mid sevens, which is a tad disappointing. Expect about 400km of range considering the 35-litre fuel tank!
The GT-Line Picanto looks the part, comes with a high level of technology and is fun to drive. It’s unnecessarily lacklustre in the performance stakes, mainly due to an old school gear box but as a stylish city car, it’s the class leader. It’s 7 out of 10 from me