There are fewer automobiles within the sub-$20,000 class than ever earlier than. The up to date Kia Picanto is without doubt one of the remaining viable choices.

Meet one among Australia’s least expensive automobiles. The 2021 Kia Picanto S begins from $15,190 plus on-road prices, or $16,990 drive-away. That’s for a white automotive with handbook transmission, the precise instance in these images. For Kia, it would not get any extra reasonably priced than this.

Automatic transmission and metallic paint push the value to $17,990 drive-away and past.

Give or take a distinction of $200 to $300 in comparison with its closest rivals, this is without doubt one of the least expensive tickets right into a brand-new automotive.

The Kia Picanto is having fun with renewed reputation within the wake of the coronavirus disaster, as extra individuals keep away from public transport to cut back their threat of being contaminated with COVID-19.

The Kia Picanto now dominates its phase by a big margin, but it surely’s value understanding the way it received right here.

This technology of Kia Picanto has been on sale domestically since 2017; nevertheless, its DNA dates again to the earlier mannequin – which got here to Australia mid-2016 and was launched globally in 2011. Which is why a latest replace within the second half of 2020 was a fairly large deal for one among Australia’s smallest automobiles.

The modifications on the bottom mannequin examined listed below are refined: new wheel trims, an 8.0-inch infotainment display, and a digital velocity show within the instrument cluster. The flagship GT and GT-Line additionally gained extra daring bodykit designs and new headlights.

City automobiles, because the trade defines them, are at a little bit of a crossroads. Some are on the endangered species listing or have already change into extinct – handing a much bigger slice of the shrinking city-car market to the diminutive Kia Picanto.

A couple of years in the past, there have been greater than a dozen decisions within the city-car class. Since then, now we have seen the demise of runabout hatchbacks such because the Holden Barina, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai i20, Hyundai Accent, Suzuki Celerio, and Nissan Micra, whereas Honda has confirmed there is not going to be a Jazz offered domestically after the present mannequin reaches the top of the road.

So, what’s behind the disappearing act? The fashions which are not with us successfully priced themselves out of rivalry.

What many patrons could not realise is that hatchbacks comparable in measurement to the Kia Picanto value simply as a lot to design, engineer, and manufacture as a barely larger small automotive. However, Australian patrons don’t wish to pay a premium for metropolis automobiles.

The basic consensus is that automobiles of this measurement and kind ought to value between $15,000 and $20,000 – whereas barely bigger small automobiles push into the $20,000 to $25,000 bracket.

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This mannequin Kia Picanto S handbook and its direct friends – the MG 3 and Mitsubishi Mirage – are within the $15,000 to $20,000 bracket. However, they’re within the sub-$20,000 pricepoint by advantage of the truth that they’re older designs.

As a end result, they’ve had some pre-crash security aids added to them through the years, however not the total suite of superior know-how.

In order to attain a five-star security end result towards harder and newer standards (that are up to date each two years or so), automotive producers should now load their new fashions with nearly all obtainable security aids.

In small automobiles specifically, the side-impact crash exams are so extreme, fashions such because the Toyota Yaris wanted not one however two centre airbags to attain a five-star end result.

That’s one of many causes the value of the brand new Toyota Yaris jumped by $9000 and is no longer far off Toyota Corolla cash. The newest Yaris basically prices simply as a lot as a Corolla to design, engineer, and manufacture – which is why the costs of Toyota’s two smallest automobiles overlap.

While superior security has pushed up costs of a few of our most reasonably priced new automobiles, there are nonetheless just a few decisions within the sub-$20,000 phase.They are often known as ‘legacy automobiles’. They are older fashions that don’t have each obtainable suite of superior security tech, however which typically do sufficient to guard occupants higher than a used small automotive.

For context, the Kia Picanto has a four-star security ranking from 2017, the MG 3 has a three-star ranking from 2014, and the Mitsubishi Mirage has a five-star rating, but it surely’s from 2013. If the Mitsubishi Mirage have been examined in its present guise to in the present day’s extra stringent requirements, it might probably land with both a three- or four-star rating.

It’s value taking a second to ponder security as a result of the smaller the automotive, the extra safety you want in your aspect, particularly in a crash with a much bigger and heavier automobile.

The Picanto has a good stage of security for this measurement and kind of automotive – and worth – but it surely’s not in the identical league as the brand new Toyota Yaris, which begins from about $25,000 drive-away.

As this text was printed, there was no automotive priced under the Toyota Yaris with a contemporary five-star security ranking, as judged towards 2020 testing standards. That means automobiles such because the Kia Picanto provide superior security to used small automobiles somewhat than their newer friends.

For many motorists getting again behind the wheel to keep away from COVID-19, the Kia Picanto is a safer guess than a bus or a prepare (for well being causes), and a greater guess than a 10-year-old used hatchback (for crash security causes).

When you have a look at the extent of kit within the Kia Picanto S, you may surprise how the corporate does it for the value. However, it’s an older platform and far of the event prices have already been amortised.

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The next-generation Kia Picanto – mentioned to nonetheless be some years away – will probably be a costlier proposition, if latest historical past with newer small-car rivals is a information.

Standard equipment on the base-model 2021 Kia Picanto S examined consists of air-conditioning, distant central locking with a ‘flick’ key, energy home windows (together with one-touch operation up or down for the driving force), energy mirrors, a rear digital camera, rear sensors, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, cruise management, and dusk-sensing headlights.

Safety tech consists of city-speed autonomous emergency braking and 6 airbags. Advanced aids similar to blind-zone warning and rear cross-traffic alert aren’t obtainable.

Service intervals are 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first. Capped-price servicing for routine upkeep is as follows:

One yr / 15,000km $280
Two years / 30,000km $461
Three years / 45,000km $335
Four years / 60,000km $504
Five years / 75,000km $315
Six years / 90,000km $577
Seven years / 105,000km $334

Some of those service costs are on the excessive aspect, so make sure to store round. As lengthy because the service is completed by a certified technician utilizing applicable components and oils, your guarantee shouldn’t be voided.

If you service the automotive exterior the dealership, make sure to maintain all receipts, together with for components used, in case that you must make a guaranty declare at a later date. You might want to exhibit that the servicing work was finished by a certified technician with appropriate components.

The guarantee is seven years and limitless kilometres for personal patrons.

2021 Kia Picanto S
Price From $16,990 drive-away
Engine 1.25-litre four-cylinder petrol
Power and torque 62kW @ 6000rpm, 122Nm @ 4000rpm
Transmission Five-speed handbook
Driven wheels Front-wheel drive
Weight 1011kg
Fuel ranking label / as examined 5.8L/100km / 6.3L/100km
Fuel kind Regular unleaded (35L tank)
Seating capability 5 seats
Boot quantity 255L (rear seats up), 1010L (rear seats down) VDA
Spare tyre Space-saver
Turning circle 9.4m
Length / width / peak (mm) 3595 / 1595 / 1485
Wheelbase 2400mm
Ground clearance 141mm
Towing capability (kg) N/A
Front brakes 256mm ventilated discs
Rear brakes 234mm strong discs
Tyres Kumho Eco Wing 175/65/14
0–100km/h 11.5 seconds (as examined)
100km/h to zero 39.3m (as examined)
Engine revs at 100km/h in fifth gear 2800rpm (as examined)
ANCAP security ranking Four stars (2017 ranking yr)
Warranty 7 years/limitless km
Main rivals Mitsubishi Mirage, Toyota Yaris, MG 3

On the street

The Kia Picanto is surprisingly enjoyable to drive, even in its most simple guise. It received’t win any land-speed data, but it surely’s not meant to.

By runabout requirements, this can be a zippy automotive with well-sorted suspension, brakes and steering. It feels as if you’re sporting the automotive somewhat than sitting in it, such is its measurement and the quick suggestions.

You can really feel the suspension hunker down if you’re exhausting on the brakes, and the steering is gentle and exact, whether or not it’s in a roundabout or a buying centre automotive park. It’s a cinch to parallel park as a result of you’ll be able to see (and nearly attain) each nook of the automotive.

The 1.25-litre four-cylinder petrol engine hums alongside properly, and the one time you want you had a sixth gear (the handbook is five-speed solely) is if you’re on a freeway. At 100km/h in fifth, the engine is revving at about 2800rpm, which is a contact on the excessive aspect, and one of many causes we used extra gas than the consumption label predicted (see desk, above).

Around city, although, it’s geared completely. Although the Kia Picanto feels quicker than it’s, we put our testing tools on it to see the way it compares to different metropolis hatchbacks.

It stopped the clocks within the 0–100km/h sprint (if you happen to can name it that) in 11.5 seconds, which for context is barely a contact slower than a brand new Toyota Yaris. Suffice to say, it has sufficient oomph to comfortably maintain circulate with visitors, but it surely received’t precisely pin your ears again with exhilaration.

We additionally brake-tested from 100km/h to zero in an emergency cease, pulling up in 39.3m. To be frank, given the Kia Picanto is so gentle (about 1000kg all instructed), it ought to cease in a shorter distance than this, particularly armed with four-wheel discs in a category dominated by rear drum brakes.

However, the ‘eco’ Kumho tyres are designed for low friction, and this was noticeable when braking and cornering. Full disclosure: the Toyota GR Yaris additionally pulled up in about 39m in the identical situations on the very same stretch of tarmac, which is an indictment on its specific Dunlop ‘efficiency’ tyre package deal, somewhat than a praise for the Kia.

The Kia’s Kumho tyres have been wonderful within the dry, however they grew to become slippery within the moist (extra so than different tyres on different comparable automobiles we’ve examined lately). So, make sure to take it simple.

If you’re a tyre fanatic, the Kia Picanto would profit significantly from high quality rubber. If you purchase tyres on worth (as most individuals do), you’ll be wonderful, simply take it simple within the moist.

The inside has 5 lap-sash seatbelts, however that is higher suited to 4 adults at greatest. One-up or two-up there’s loads of room for buying throughout the again seat and within the generously sized boot.

Visibility throughout is nice due to the massive glass space, wide-view aspect mirrors, and the compact measurement of the automotive. It’s an excellent confidence-builder for first-time drivers, however would additionally go well with drivers who simply want a commuter automotive or a buying runabout.

Overall, the Kia Picanto S is an efficient possibility if you happen to want a metropolis runabout that may squeeze into tight parking areas.

Although it lacks among the newest superior security aids, this can be a honest various to an older used small automotive and feels proper at dwelling in tight metropolis and suburban streets. It’s simple to see the renewed enchantment of this automotive.


The Kia Picanto is a top quality possibility within the city-car class, but it surely lacks the superior security aids and five-star rating of newer rivals.

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