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Kia Picanto 2019 review: X-Line


The Kia Picanto sounds fun, right? And it looks fun too. A very small car that has competitors like the Mitsubishi Mirage and Fiat 500, it doesn't exactly scream family car. But if you've already got one larger car, the Picanto could potentially be a second runaround. You know, the back up, when you really need something to get from A to B with.

I was in the Kia Picanto X Line, the AO (Australian Open) edition. And I did actually drive it for seven days with my family of four in tow. Here's how it performed.

How spacious is it?

Let's get the space thing out of the way because it didn't look like it was going to fit us at all when I first saw it. But fit, we did. I'm 161cm so I will pretty much fit in most cars. My taller husband was also able to squeeze into the driver's seat, and while he couldn't put his seat back to his preferred position without the kids complaining, he did have enough head room.

  • The boot really surprised me. The boot really surprised me.
  • The boot had enough room to fit a pram in there. A particularly bulky pram that won't even fit in a Mazda CX-3. The boot had enough room to fit a pram in there. A particularly bulky pram that won't even fit in a Mazda CX-3.
  • It's good for a pram or for suitcases. It's good for a pram or for suitcases.
  • But groceries will have to go on top of one another. But groceries will have to go on top of one another.
  • Most of the room comes from depth. Most of the room comes from depth.

My two children, aged 5 and 7 also fit in the back seat, much to their disappointment. They had taken one look at this car and wondered how they would fit in there, but they were able to without much trouble. Yes, their legs were closer to the seat in front of them, but behind me they were fine. It's when you're trying to sit behind a taller person that things get a bit squishy. The back seat is quite compact.

The boot however, really surprised me by having enough room to fit a pram in there. This is a particularly bulky pram that we test with and won't even fit in a Mazda CX-3, so for it to fit in a Picanto was amazing to say the least. At 255L it's one of the biggest in it's class, but most of the room comes from depth, so it's good for a pram or for suitcases, but groceries will have to go on top of one another.

My two children, aged 5 and 7 also fit in the back seat, much to their disappointment. My two children, aged 5 and 7 also fit in the back seat, much to their disappointment.

How does it look?

Can you say C-U-T-E? Because that's what it is. The whole thing from the exceptional colour of the car to the teddy bear-like headlights and the size of the car, feeling like it could fit in my back pockets... it's adorable. It reminds of how I feel every time I see Isla Fischer on TV, you know how you just want to hug her? That's how I feel about the Kia Picanto.

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Inside is fairly standard but because I'm in the Picanto X Line, there are a few extra features like alloy foot pedals, a red trim on the faux leather seats, a premium steering wheel that feels quite good, and a few glossy accents along the centre console and gear stick so it's not super basic.

Sure, there's a lot of plastic on the inside, but the Picanto is not priced to be a premium car, it's budget, and the styling reflects that.

Inside is fairly standard but because I'm in the Picanto X Line, there are a few extra features. Inside is fairly standard but because I'm in the Picanto X Line, there are a few extra features.

How easy is it to use every day?

I found some things easy, and some things squeezy. There are two cupholders in the front, a spot to throw keys and a phone, a small centre storage bin and a bottle holder in the two front doors. There are no cupholders in the back and one pocket on the back of the front passenger seat.

The huge upside is that it's so easy to park. The huge upside is that it's so easy to park.

While the pram did fit in the boot, I had to take the cargo cover off for it to fit, so I drove around with that for most of the week in the passenger seat. When trying to fit other people in (for example, the videographer who shot the accompanying review video) it was a tight squeeze with her equipment. You won't fit a third childseat in the middle of the back row, despite the car having three top tether points, and doing kids seat belts up was a bit of a bend-over battle every day.

The air vents worked well, I drove it on a hot week in Sydney and my children had enough air flow through to the back.

  • There are two cupholders in the front. There are two cupholders in the front.
  • There are two cupholders in the front. There are two cupholders in the front.

How does it drive?

There's a 1.25L engine in the Picanto X Line and it gets you around perfectly fine for what it is. It's not particularly quick and you couldn't call it zippy, but for a runaround car, it's not bad.

I found it slow going up hills with children in the back, and I wouldn't particularly want to be driving it on the open road - just the size would make me feel quite vulnerable and I didn't want to drive with my kids for very long distances in it. All I could think all week was that someone might run up the back of us and the children weren't adequately protected. A job hazard perhaps, from driving large SUVs all the time.

The huge upside is that it's so easy to park. I was fitting into carparks I would never normally attempt and I always drove right up to exactly where I was going because I knew I would get a park in the Picanto. It's also great to do u-turns with and I felt like a bit of a cheat all week - parking and u-turns really make a huge difference to your every day when you drive a lot. It's also got a very clear reverse parking camera and collision warnings just in case you get too close.

There's a 1.25L engine in the Picanto X Line and it gets you around perfectly fine for what it is. There's a 1.25L engine in the Picanto X Line and it gets you around perfectly fine for what it is.

How safe is it?

The Picanto has front and side airbags for driver and front passenger, plus side curtain airbags that extend to the back row. As far as advanced safety features go, auto emergency braking comes standard, but that's about it.

It has a four star ANCAP rating, having scored high for adult safety but more concerning for parents is that children's safety scored 64%, well below the 75% pass score.

What's the tech like?

You can plug your phone into the USB point for Apple Carplay or Android Auto, which gives you instant access to the main apps on your phone via the seven inch touchscreen. Use maps to navigate or Spotify to listen to music, plus make calls and send texts using voice control.

It has a seven inch touchscreen. It has a seven inch touchscreen.

What does it cost to own?


The Wrap

The Kia Picanto X Line is a cute, super small car, but it just didn't suit my family for driving everyday. I was far too paranoid about having my children sit in the back seat and I was worried they weren't safe back there.

That's a very subjective, personal decision, so if you're more relaxed, or your family is perhaps you and your teenage child who can sit in the front seat, you might enjoy this car a bit more. It's so easy to drive and park, has good technology and looks sweet.

I gave it a family rating of 6.5 out of 10 - note that is a family rating, not a general rating - and my kids gave it a 6. They really didn't like the size.

Likes

Colour
Fuel consumption

Dislikes

Interior space
Safety

Scores

Nedahl:

3.3

The Kids:

3

$16,190 - $17,790

Based on new car retail price

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