Driven: Kia Picanto 1.0 LX Manual

Hot on the heels of the Kia Seltos' launch, Kia has unveiled the latest iteration of its beloved city car, the Kia Picanto. Now in its third generation, this revamped model brings a host of updates and improvements. The post Driven: Kia Picanto 1.0 LX Manual appeared first on CAR Magazine.

Driven: Kia Picanto 1.0 LX Manual

Now in its third iteration, the Kia Picanto ushers in a host of updates and improvements, cementing its status as a top contender in the budget car market.


Image: Kia

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 Kia Picanto LX fast facts:

  • Price: R260 995
  • Engine: 1.0-litre MPI in-line 3-cylinder
  • Transmission: 5-speed manual
  • Power: 49 kW @5 500 r/min
  • Torque: 95 N.m @ 3 750 r/min
  • Driven Wheels: Front
  • Fuel Consumption: 6.0 L / 100 km/h
  • CO2 emissions: 118 g/km 
  • Rivals: Hyundai i10, Suzuki S-Presso, Renault Kwid, Toyota Vitz

What are we driving and why is it significant?

The Kia Picanto has been a staple in the South African automotive market since its debut in 2004. Over the years, it has garnered significant popularity, with more than 100 000 units sold locally. As Kia’s offering in the subcompact segment, the Picanto has consistently appealed to drivers seeking a blend practicality, efficiency and affordability in a stylish, compact package.


Image: Kia

The 2024 facelift continues this tradition, introducing a host of updated cosmetic elements to further elevate its appeal. The decision to simplify trim levels to LX, EX, and EX Plus reflects Kia’s commitment to making the selection process easier for customers, ensuring they can quickly identify the model that best suits their needs. As the LX model inherits the best features of its predecessors, namely the Picanto Start and Picanto Street, it promises to deliver value as the entry point into the Picanto range. 

What is new on the facelifted Kia Picanto?

While some features of the Picanto remain consistent, it’s worth highlighting the upgrades found in LX models. These include body-coloured bumpers and trim, as well as electrically adjustable and heated side mirrors. Remote central locking and an alarm/immobiliser are standard, along with keyless entry. The Picanto now boasts a sportier look with a new headlamp design and a completely redesigned tailgate featuring taillamps connected by a horizontal bar.


Image: Kia

Related: Review: Hyundai Grand i10 Fluid Sedan Manual

Inside, the cabin receives subtle enhancements such as standard height adjustment and black cloth upholstery for the driver’s seat. Electric windows are now available all round, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, complete with a reverse camera and dynamic guidance lines for parking assistance take pride of place in the facia. The system includes Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto integration, as well as steering wheel-mounted controls for telephony and audio. Additionally, the audio system incorporates four speakers as standard.

What does the Kia Picanto cost?

  • Kia Picanto 1.0 LX 5MT – R260 995
  • Kia Picanto 1.0 LX 4AT – R278 995
  • Kia Picanto 1.2 EX 5MT – R284 995
  • Kia Picanto 1.2 EX 4AT – R302 995
  • Kia Picanto 1.2 EX+ 5MT – R307 995
  • Kia Picanto 1.2 EX+ 4AT – R325 995

All prices include Kia’s 5-year/unlimited km warranty and a 2-year/30 000 km service plan.

What is the Kia Picanto like to drive?

Barring a clutch with a biting point that’s a little on the high side, the Kia Picanto offers up a pleasant driving experience, particularly well-suited for urban environments. Its compact dimensions make manoeuvring through tight spaces a breeze. Steering that’s responsive for a car of this ilk contributes to a sense of agility, making it enjoyable to pilot around town.

Image: Kia

The cabin is well insulated from engine noise and the 5-speed manual’s shift action is smooth and assured. While its 1.0-litre displacement may lead some to expect limited performance, the Picanto’s light weight and closely spaced lower gears means it feels surprisingly peppy off the mark. The ride quality is generally comfortable, handling bumps and road imperfections well for a vehicle in its class.

What are the Kia Picanto’s rivals?

While the Kia Picanto competes with models like the Hyundai i10, Suzuki S-Presso S-Edition, Renault Kwid, and Toyota Vitz, its base model starting at R260,995 may offer different value propositions. The Suzuki S-Presso, for instance, ranges from R174 900 to R214 900, while the Toyota Vitz starts at R189 900 and goes up to R239 900.

Image: Kia

However, in the ballpark of R265 000 for an entry-level vehiclelarger alternatives become viable. The Toyota Starlet 1.5 Xi, priced at R252 100, and the Suzuki Swift 1.2 GLX auto, available for R263 900, present compelling options. This broader price range provides potential buyers with a variety of choices, catering to diverse preferences and needs.

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The post Driven: Kia Picanto 1.0 LX Manual appeared first on CAR Magazine.

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