Kia’s new Picanto is a spicy little newcomer to the entry-level market in South Africa. Featuring a 49 kW 1,1-litre engine, funky, MPV-like styling and an airbag, prices start at R72 995.

Kia’s new Picanto is a spicy little newcomer to the entry-level market in South Africa. Featuring a 49 kW 1,1-litre engine, funky, MPV-like styling and an airbag, prices start at R72 995.

The Picanto first appeared at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show and is more modern than its local competitors – the Toyota Tazz, Volkswagen CitiGolf, Opel Corsa Lite and to a lesser extent, the Fiat Palio. Initially the Picanto will be available in the LX base model with an air-conditioner (R7 000) as an option. Later in the year a flagship model, the EX, will be introduced and a diesel derivative is said to be in the pipeline.

The Picanto’s interior dimensions (front headroom of 1 003 mm and rear headroom of 966 mm), interior and safety specifications, overall fit and finish and fuel economy (Kia claims the car could travel 700 km on a single tank of fuel under ideal conditions) appear to be its biggest strengths.

Under the bonnet is a four-cylinder, 12-valve, single overhead cam engine, mated with a five-speed manual transmission. The engine produces 49 kW at 5 500 r/min and 99 N.m of torque at 2 800 r/min. Kia claims the Picanto will take 15,2 seconds to reach 100km/h from standstill and reach a top speed of 155km/h.

The company also claims an overall consumption figure of 4,9 litres per 100 km.

On the road, the Picanto (available in nine exterior colours) rides on 14-inch tyres and its suspension setup includes front McPherson struts and rear torsion beam axle with anti-roll bars. Given the car’s compact dimensions, parking should be a breeze. However, on its launch in Cape Town on Wednesday, CAR’s correspondent noted that although the Picanto’s engine was sprightly and the its ride was compliant, the steering felt heavier than expected for a car in its category.

The interior of the Picanto features soft touch trim on the doors and the dash. The driver’s seat is six-way adjustable. Both the driver and passenger seats feature slide and recline adjustability, allowing the occupant to alter the angle of the seat back and the distance of the seat from the dashboard.

Apart from claimed front shoulder headroom of 1 290 mm and rear shoulder room of 1 292 mm, the Picanto offers 18 cabin storage areas. The centre console features two beverage holders, one of which can be used to hold a removable ashtray. A cell phone tray and a rear storage tray complete the console stack.

In the dashboard are two storage trays below the steering wheel on the driver’s door side and a two-layer glove box. The rear luggage capacity is 157 litres and increases to 882 litres when the rear seats, which have a 60:40 split folding option, are folded down.

In terms of safety, the LX is fitted with a driver’s side airbag and meets Euro 4 standard safety specifications. Four inertia reel seatbelts feature electronic pretensioners and load limiters and the doors are re-enforced with ultra-high tensile steel beams. Child safety locks and ISOFIX anchor points are fitted in the boot area for the fitting of child safety seats.

The Picanto comes standard with a SASA class A approved transponder immobiliser and Etacs (electronic time and alarm control system), remote-activated central locking and a battery saver feature that prevents battery rundown by turning off the lights when the doors are closed.

TMK standard, spare tyre optional

The Picanto is claimed to be the first car in its class to do without a spare wheel. The TMK (Tyre Mobility Kit) developed by Continental consists of a small compressor and a liquid sealant. In the event of a puncture, the sealant is injected into the tyre through the valve and the compressor is used to inflate the tyre allowing the car to be driven. The TMK allows the driver to repair the flat tyre in less than 10 minutes, without having to jack up the car, compared to about 30 minutes to replace a wheel.

The Picanto is sold with a three-year/100 000 km warranty and three-year unlimited km roadside assistance plan and service intervals are at 15 000km. A spare wheel will cost R875 if specified.

Original article from Car