DRIVEN: KIA Picanto 1.2 MT Smart

The A-segment is one filled with new and refreshed faces battling it out for the top spot. As one of KIA’s top-selling models, the KIA Picanto, now in its third generation, seeks to build on the success of its predecessor. We’ve loved the car since its launch at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.

The new KIA Picanto is bolder, smarter and has more space than the car it replaces. This third-generation model, KIA has its knocked this one out the part. It just looks the part.

The new KIA Picanto is the exact same size as its predecessor, the only difference is that the wheel-base is longer. This has helped give the car a more planted look. The overall exterior design of the car is bolder especially this range-topping model – the 1.2 MT Smart fitted with LED daytime running lights, LED tail-lamps, and LED indicators. Our test unit was finished in Lime Light, a funky green which is amongst 10 funky colours.

It’s neat, clean, and simple.

The interior is a pleasant place to be in. Being a top of the range-topper this model was fitted with dual tone leather front seats (which were very comfortable) and a seven-inch touchscreen that supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s neat, clean, and simple. When it comes to boot space, its gained just 50 litres of boot space taking it up 255 litres and 1000 litres with the 60:40 split rear seats folded down.

The KIA Picanto feels more at home in the city, and the two engine derivatives it comes in a perfect. The entry-level model comes with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder which makes 49 kW and 96 N.m of torque whilst the 1,2-litre four-cylinder develops 61 kW and 122 N.m. Fitted with the latter, it’s extremely fun and easy to drive thanks to its longer wheel breeze, quickened steering and tweaked suspension.

It’s fun to drive and it doesn’t hurt your bank balance. We managed a best of 4.5 L/100 km and the worst was a 5.5 L/100 km.

There isn’t much noise in the cabin whilst driving which makes having conversations less shouty. Parking is a breeze but don’t despair if your parking skills aren’t up to scratch as the Picanto comes fitted with a rear camera and Park Distance Control (PDC).  It’s fun to drive and it doesn’t hurt your bank balance. We managed a best of 4.5 L/100 km and the worst was a 5.5 L/100 km. Aside from the entry-level models, the Picanto features ABS brakes, driver and passenger airbags, and 44% advanced high strength steel in its chassis for that added safety and weight saving.

Buyers in the A Segment are spoilt for choice and the KIA Picanto has some serious competition within A segment and outside. The Picanto offers some bold styling, a beautiful cabin, smart technology, good driving dynamics in a compact package. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with the Picanto as it conquered the city and b-roads with ease.

The KIA Picanto comes with a 5-year/UNLIMITED warranty.


Engine: 1.2 litre 4 cyl petrol
Power: 61 kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 122 N.m @ 4000rpm
rpmTransmission: 5-Speed Manual 
Acceleration: 0 – 100 km/h 12 seconds
Top Speed: 170 km/h km/h
Fuel Consumption: 4.6 L/100km (claimed)
Price: R 204, 495

Images shot by Pakisa aka Talk Steer

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