The Kia Picanto is a tough car to review. On the one hand, it’s way too tiny and expensive for most Malaysians to consider. The standard Picanto comes in at RM49K, and this GT-Line model we tested with more features is RM10K more expensive. At that price, you can easily get yourself into a decently equipped local B-segment car. But for RM47K-58K, what the Kia Picanto offers is something you can’t really get anywhere else. It’s almost unquantifiable. In a word, it’s attention to detail.
In most smaller, budget-oriented cars, manufacturers have to shave off any excess cost. Where a cheaper plastic or pleather can be used, it is used. Where a simpler, more cost-effective design can be applied, it is applied. It’s understandable. But you don’t get that impression in the Kia Picanto.
The Kia Picanto is aimed at people who only need a very small car but don’t want to compromise on refinement, design and features.
A 1.2-litre, naturally aspirated 4-cylinder petrol engine (83hp, 122Nm) is what moves this car along. It’s really not very powerful, but the tuning of the engine and transmission is PERFECT. Shifts from the 4-speed automatic happen extremely smoothly and at the right time. The car gets to 110km/h without a word of protest. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this on long trips at all unless you’re putting 3 or 4 other people in the car with their luggage. Really, for couples who enjoy the odd weekend trip, it’s great. Think of it as a safer, more refined replacement to the now defunct Kelisa.
NVH is also one of the Picanto’s key strengths. It compares favourable against the Proton Iriz (which is painfully loud at even 90km/h). Sure, you’re not going to have much fun with a car like the Kia Picanto, but it’s still plenty communicative and the real joy comes from its effortless performance.
Last year we tested the standard model. This time around we got the GT Line to play with.
This brings in a few new features and a bodykit and 16″ rims. As you can see, it’s a little more aggressive and sporty. On top of that you get a sunroof, a tyre pressure monitoring system, passive cruise control, multi info display, digital auto climate control.
For about RM10,000 more that’s actually a good amount of equipment you’re getting. But when I started driving the Picanto GT-Line, I came to realise nothing there added substantial value to my already positive experience of the car.
I liked the Kia Picanto because it was fundamentally a lovable small car. The sunroof and bodykit to me were redundant. The tyre pressure monitoring system, passive cruise control, digital climate control and Supervision cluster all didn’t seem necessary to me.
Naza Kia got it right to begin with. Give me a plain, functional, large display that has support for Android Auto and Apple Carplay and leave everything else as simple as possible. That’s all I need in a car.
The only 2 features I appreciated were the 16″ rims and the centre armrest. Yes, the thinner tyres made the ride a little more bumpy, but the Picanto looks a lot better with them on.
I suppose if money wasn’t tight and you wanted a fully specced small car, then the Kia Picanto GT Line would be an excellent buy. But if you’re shopping in this segment mostly because you can only spend a certain amount monthly, then I would suggest the regular Picanto. You’re getting 91% of the goodness for about 81% the price.
Kia Picanto GT-Line Specifications
Engine: 4-cylinder, 16-valve, naturally aspirated petrol
Gearbox: 4-speed Conventional Automatic
Max power: 83 hp @ 6000rpm
Max torque: 122Nm @ 4000rpm