What is it?
This is the latest and arguably greatest Kia Picanto, now with added turbocharging.
It was inevitable, really. City cars used to be bare-bones, unpretentious transport for pootling about town in an unhurried manner, with few concessions made to straight-line performance. But as their prices and exterior dimensions have increased, their targeted remit has become broader.
The rise in contract hire and leasing deals has increased the popularity of top-spec models across the board. After all, why settle for an entry-level variant when, for an extra £20 a month, you can have the bigger engine or the more lavish trim level?
It’s why Volkswagen has returned to the small warm hatch formula with the Up GTI, and why, if you want to, you can now pay nearly £15,000 for a Picanto. Yes, this flagship GT-Line S variant is knocking on the door of a mid-spec supermini price-wise, but it packs a punch to justify it.
Kia has shoehorned in the same 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol motor used in a number of its larger models, including the Rio. Here, it makes 99bhp and a healthy 126lb ft of torque. Ordinarily, these aren't numbers worth shouting about, but in a car weighing slightly over a tonne, it’s promising.
Unlike the Up GTI, though, this isn’t a bone fide sporting model. There are no suspension or steering changes, just a smattering of visual faux-sportiness and a faintly staggering kit list for a car at this level. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, heated seats, a heated steering wheel and even a wireless smartphone charger are just some of the big car features thrown in on this range-topper.