Friday, October 6, 2017

Bucket Seat: KIA Picanto 1.2MT Smart

So a couple weeks ago I spent a week with the new KIA Picanto, it was my first time driving one of these ultra small hatchbacks and truth be told, before getting it I was a bit pessimistic about driving it. I mean you see these cars on the road, they are like half the size of a normal car and all you can think about is how safe is it really? Some even go as far to dub the cars in this segment as "a coffin on wheels", that is quite a statement hence I thought I'd use the time with the car to not only see what it had to offer but to also dismiss these absurd fears that many seem to have about them. Give this KIA and others like it some voice that their are actually better than many think they are. 


The car I received was the range topping 1.2 Smart Manual Transmission, the Picanto comes in four variants, Start, Street, Style and Smart with differences in the range are the cosmetics and extras with the choice of two engines. The Picanto has grown and matured through the years and it's reached the stage where it's design is aimed and appealing to the younger market, during my time with the car it was the youth that it got turning heads and getting a second look. The design is spunky, the car has a pretty stout stance but the design of the car is very bold that add's bulk to it. The colour in which I got it from was "Lime Light" which made it even more outstanding, there are 11 colours for you choose from, again giving you the option to make your little Picanto unique and to your taste.  The addition of the new LED lights in the front and back add to the character of the car and apart from making the car visible to others, it looks really cool! On the interior, they have made some changes but the key one being the large infotainment touch screen display which was also in the Rio but more about that later. 


The Picanto is ultimately a city car, with it's size and weight, the two engine sizes the car comes in is perfect for it. The 1.0 litre engine is an in-line 3 cylinder, 12 valve DOHC engine, while the 1.2 litre which I had has an in-line 4 cylinder, 16 valve DOHC. The max power output on the 1.2 is 61kW with torque coming in at 122Nm which is more than enough power to carry this 1.3 tonne car around. The 1.2 is pretty nippy and with the short wheel base makes the car extremely fun to drive around. The turning circle on the car is amazing and best of all, parking the car is effortless, be it alley docking or parallel parking but if you still have difficulty, the Picanto comes with rear PDC's and a reverse camera. On the road, the car drives well, even with it being light it sits great on the road and the economy with fuel consumption makes my wallet smile. With the tight turning circle it makes cornering fun and really does make the drive all that more enjoyable. 


It is a small car, so don't expect much in terms of space, while the drive and front passenger can sit pretty comfortable in some rather nice seats I must add, not sure how comfortable the rear passengers will be. In saying that I did have 4 adults in the car a few times and surprisingly didn't have much complaints. On the road, the ride quality is faultless, not much wind noise in the cabin and it feels pretty solid. Which comes back to the safety concern which is raised by many. A motor manufacturer isn't going to produce a car on the market that isn't safe, the Picanto uses more than 44% advanced high strength steel in its chassis and has received a 4 star NCAP safety rating which is pretty good if you ask me. 


With the infotainment center, the car like the Rio has the build applications for Apple Car Play and Google Android Auto. Since it took me a while to hack the Android Auto with the Rio, I was ready to test it out fully with the Picanto, while this isn't an advertisement for Android Auto, but it just works so well with the car. Voice commands not even with a touch of a button, just tell it what you want and it will do it, from getting your directions, choosing music, reading texts and whatsapp messages or calling someone. The KIA also has a great entertainment center should you not have any access to these apps all which is easily accessible and manage on the large touch screen. The car also came with a glass sunroof, handy little extra when you 


To put those myths that I spoke of earlier to bed, yes the Picanto is small, yes it is light in weight but it is no where as unsafe as perceived to be, in fact its the total opposite. With a high NCAP safety rating and multiple airbags, it's one of the safest cars in its class on the road today. It's a cute but funky little car, definitely great for young drivers, the added technology and features that is available with the Picanto is also a major draw card for the people who are more in-tune and want to have the latest tech in their car. With the great drivability of the car, easy maneuvering and comfort of it, really adds up to one exciting package and great for urban driving. So whether it be a city run around or something for a first time driver, the Picanto really is a great all round car. 


 1.2 litre, in-line 4 cylinder DOHC
 Gear Box
 5 Speed Manual
 Top Speed
 Fuel Tank
 R 195,995

Photography by: Malusi Msomi aka DBN Spotter
Twitter: @dbn_spotter
Instagram: dbn_spotter

Behind the scenes video of the shoot.
Drone footage by Avish_Karr mvrc1988
Camera footage by amg133

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