X-Line 1.25 MPi
city cars do exactly that:
live in the city. Thats why theyre
one size down from traditional
superminis. But not all city cars
are created equal and a few,
like Kias all-new Picanto, enjoy
a double life both in and outside
WHAT THEY ALL STRIVE TO OFFER is an alluring mix of smart looks, clever
interior packaging, comfort, and economy and an attractive price. While
city car customers appreciate compact dimensions, many have been bitten by the
crossover bug but unless you have ring-fenced parking then an SUV in
town has become something of a liability. Enter, stage right, with a city-friendly
3.7-metre footprint, the Picanto X-Line.
The X-Line is 70mm longer, 30mm wider and 15mm taller (down to the 15mm extra
ground clearance) than its stablemates. It also sports a more assertive look
with imposing SUV-style bumpers, black side sill mouldings and wheelarch cladding,
and silver skid plates nose and tail. So city drivers can now have their cake
and drive it.
prices kicking-off from £9,500 and topping-out at £13,995, putting a Picanto
on your driveway (or your allocated parking spot) won't play havoc with your
budget. All Picantos come with five doors and there's a choice of five-speed
manual or four-speed automatic gearboxes mated to a petrol engine that can be
either a three-pot 66bhp 1.0-litre or a 1.25 four-pot with 83bhp
the logical choice for both in-town and open-road driving.
from £9,500, putting a
Picanto on your driveway
wont play havoc with
Theres a choice of five-
speed manual or four-
gearboxes mated to a
petrol engine that can
be either a three-pot
66bhp 1.0-litre or a 1.25
four-pot with 83bhp
the logical choice for
both in-town and open-
If that's not enough you might want to make a note that Kia's turboed 1.0-litre
T-GDi petrol engine with 99bhp will be joining the powertrain line-up later
The 1.25 is keen to show you how it goes; clean-revving, its 90lb ft of torque
provides decent 'pull' through the front wheels. Obviously we're not talking
hot-hatch levels of poke here so if you want to zip rather than flow you'll
need to make best use of the five gears never a problem as the
change action is clear-cut.
Keep it in its sweet spot and passing traffic, even in the outer lane of the
motorway, holds no worries. For the record, at the legal limit the 1.25 four-pot
is hushed enough to make it quieter than some of the premium German models that
now compete in this sector of the market.
While the four-cylinder unit is gutsy, it's no gas-guzzler officially
rated at 61.4mpg, at the end of a hard week's testing it had averaged a worthy
46.5mpg. In the real world, fuel-savvy drivers should be able to regularly slip
across the 50mpg border into more smiley economy territory.
Liberated from the camel-backed 20mph zones, the Picanto feels more at ease
than many so-called city cars. In fact, it feels as enthusiastic as children
unexpectedly let out of school early racing off through the twisties
with well-managed body control. The same accurate power-assisted rack and pinion
steering that makes nipping through town traffic and slotting into only-just-big-enough
parking spaces a breeze, is also fine punting along on country lanes. And all
the time, working in the background to enhance stability and keep cornering
lines tight and true, is torque vectoring a first for Kia in the
city car class.
On faster roads the Picanto rides well but even playing on its home turf
blacktop it proves to be compliant enough in spite of rolling
on the larger 16-inch alloys that are standard-fit on X-Line models.
cabin has a modish air enhanced by high gloss white trim to the door pulls,
gearlever surround, armrests, and around the eye-catchingly detailed vertical
air-vents, and a high gloss black frame edging the touchscreen along with unique
two-tone grey faux leather upholstery with yellow overstitching.
zones, the Picanto feels
more at ease than many
so-called city cars.
In fact, it feels as
enthusiastic as children
unexpectedly let out of
school early racing off
and nipping through the
twisties with well-
managed body control...
It's all well designed and well put together with controls and switchgear logically
sited and easy to reach and operate exactly how you want it when
driving in the distracting conditions that define today's ever more congested
The natty grey seats are comfortable not just around the houses but on long
trips too, and while their bolstering is slim it does actually offer enough
support to keep you steady through bends and corners (as well as making it easy
to get out over when leaving).
You also don't have to worry about headroom there's plenty of
it or banging elbows with your front passenger who can make good
use of the sliding padded armrest between the front seats. Adding to the ambiance
is the inner calm the Picanto is the quietest car in class with
just 68 decibels at a steady cruise.
Keeping the driver informed and in control while on the move is a central seven-inch
touchscreen with intuitive menus that respond quickly to finger-taps. Hard 'jump'
buttons are set four each side of the screen for quick access to all key departments.
The touchscreen sits high on the fascia, horizontally aligned with an instrument
panel that's seen perfectly through the top sector of the flat-bottomed, leather-wrapped
steering wheel (with tactile perforated work areas and remote controls for voice,
phone, and trip computer).
Smartphone mirroring is via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both of which let
occupants connect to various apps and functions, including voice-guided handsfree
calls and texts. Android Auto also gives access to Google maps navigation and
Google Play music while Apple CarPlay links to pre-loaded maps, music, texts
and messages and audio books, all through Siri voice control.
is taken care of by a six-speaker audio system, DAB radio, and Bluetooth with
music streaming as well as, if you prefer to bring your own media device, USB
and Aux ports. Also integrated into the display is a reversing camera (with
dynamic guidelines). When it comes to backing up you also get rear parking sensors
so you should be able to manage going backwards without any of that Flintstone-era
the four-pot is
gutsy, its no gas-guzzler
at the end of a
hard weeks testing it
had averaged a worthy
46.5mpg. In the real
world, fuel-savvy drivers
should be able to regularly slip across the
50mpg border into
As regards going towards the horizon, that's easy thanks to a fine driving position
in a supportive seat made better by a deep windscreen framed by slim front pillars
and generous side windows all of which makes the Picanto a relaxing
car to drive on urban roads often complicated by poorly marked bus lanes, roundabouts,
and multiple junctions.
The Picanto is not only one of the most spacious cars in its class but for a
small car it's unexpectedly big on in-cabin storage, that includes a party-piece
set of retractable cupholders that spin away out of sight at the press of a
button, leaving you with a large open tray ahead of the gearlever with USB,
Aux and 12v sockets (and a home-from-home for your mobile), slim but usable
door bins that will hold small bottles, a deep cubby under the centre armrest,
and a handy L-shaped bin around the pull-up handbrake.
Other essentials fitted to the X-Line and not mentioned elsewhere include air
conditioning, four electric windows (the driver's with one-shot operation),
powerfolding heated door mirrors, tinted glass, drive-away automatic door locking,
height-adjustable front belts, and non-slip stainless steel pedals.
Given the amount of time city cars are likely to spend in their congested natural
environments, the Picanto's autonomous emergency city braking with pedestrian
recognition is essential active between 5mph and 50mph, it will,
if necessary, automatically brake down to a complete stop (in fact, even up
to 107mph, partial autonomous braking comes into play to reduce the severity,
or prevent, collisions). Six airbags are also standard-fit items, as too is
electronic stability control, emergency stop signalling, hill-start assist,
tyre pressure monitoring, auto lights, bi-function projection headlights, LED
daytime running lights, LED rear lights and, for those long out-of-town trips,
may think that being a city car its makers had set aside the best room and seats
for the front pair. Not so swing open a back door (it opens almost
to right angles for easy access) and the Picanto's back cabin is equally welcoming
with the same pleasant-to-the-touch grey faux leather stretched over well-padded
seats; the hip- points are high so no dropping down just sit easily
and pull in your legs.
that being a city car
its makers had set aside
the best room and seats
for the front pair.
Not so: the Picantos
back cabin is bright and
airy, the backrest nicely
reclined and even a six-
footer will fit without
The backrest is nicely reclined at a relaxing angle, the outer armrests wide,
knees won't be pressed against the seatback and there's loads of foot room (made
better by the lack of a central floor tunnel) and, despite privacy glass to
the side windows and tailgate screen, it's bright and airy. Headroom is okay
too, and even a six-footer will fit without shoehorning.
Three side-by-side is doable and unlike on some of the Picanto's competitors,
there are three belts and three headrests. Those carrying youngsters will also
be pleased to find two Isofix child seat mounting points. Some passengers like
to 'strap-hang' while travelling and the Picanto caters to them too with damped
grab handles; the windows are electric (some other city cars only give you manual
wind-ups) plus there's a magazine pouch for oddments and child safe rear door
City car owners won't be expecting to move white goods such as a fridge-freezer
but even so the Picanto is pretty handy in carryall mode. Raise the high-lifting
tailgate, drop the 60:40-split rear seatbacks (they fold near enough flat) and
you'll have a loadbay that runs to 1,010 litres. Even with the back seats otherwise
occupied the Picanto offers a very usable, class-best 255 litres for general
shopping and carrying.
You can also carry a further 60kg on the roof. And if you like to keep some
things well and truly hidden, then you'll be happy to find a deep well either
side of the tyre repair kit under the boot floor that offers some 'secret' stowage.
Roses are red, violets are blue; the Picanto's a city car, that's at home in
the country too… So, is it for you? With its roomy and attractive interior,
near-50mpg economy, industry-best seven-year warranty and enjoyable open-road
driveability, the crossover-themed X-Line is a definite step-up for a city car.
Kia Picanto X-Line 1.25 MPi
Maximum speed: 107mph | 0-60mph: 11.6 seconds | Test Average: 46.5mpg
Power: 83bhp | Torque: 90lb ft | CO2: 106g/km