Garwin Beukes - Upon its inception, the Kia Picanto was seen as the perfect student vehicle. This category it definitely still fills yes, but the evolution was rapid enough for it to now check the boxes of so much more.
We took a little test drive of both the old and new of 2017 and hereʼs what we got: Its appearance upgrade is as notable as a chubby fellow who became a body builder. The new Picanto is so much more attractive, inside as well as itʼs exterior.
The Infotainment system has been upgraded to a full touch display which features a function most youngsters would die for. The Auto Android or iPhone Auto connection allows you to access your cellphone through the car (for the older folks, the phone will work through the carʼs radio).
The new Picanto is so much more than a face-lift. Speaking of face - the whole front view of the vehicle has been improved. The stylish headlights have sharper lines and edges. The daytime running lights complement the grille and all the chrome trimmings. On the other side, the little new rear is a step up as well and all of this while still maintaining the overall original idea of the little beast.
On the Smart model we did a close inspection - the interior is tastefully laid out with leather trimmings; special focus has been given to the smaller areas inside, which immediately catches your eye and bringing focus to areas usually overlooked. The leather trimmed steering wheel stitched in white, and a sporty gear knob makes you feel like they added a little jaunty touch to this one.
The new Picanto has all-round electric Windows, 2 airbags a improved sound system and a bettered ABS system which has a shorter braking radius. For even further safety features, they have installed ISOfix child seat mounts. Another new fun attribute is the rear park distance control, aided by a reverse camera (with dynamic guidelines) is standard on the Smart Manual.
Being a car lover myself, one thing has always been troublesome - how hard the doors close. Luckily, Kia has doubled up on their door rubbers and enhanced it in such a way that the doors close remarkably soft and seal a tremendous amount of road noise.
Surprisingly the design team made a remarkable difference to the output of the car and did so in the oddest, most awesome way possible. Kia took the same 1.2 motor known form the previous model, tampered with the engineering side of it and lost 2 kilowatt, but was able to get more peak power, offering of 61 kW and 122 Nm of torque and is mated with a 5-speed manual transmission. The design team from Kia claims to have gotten a fair average of 6.4L/100km. So it has more power and is lighter on fuel! Howʼs that for having your bread buttered on both sides?
Let's talk money. The Picanto has a series of models whoʼs buying price starts at around N$142 000 while the top of the range might set you back around N$204 000. So what do you think?