The Kia Picanto is a tiny car, and a huge one. Because while Kia has been making strides in other segments with vehicles like the Cee’d and Sportage, the baby of its range, the Picanto, remains a crucial model for the firm.

Kia has shifted more than a million examples of the outgoing Picanto over its seven-year lifespan and believes this new, more mature incarnation has the potential to build on that success.

The question isn’t whether Kia can make a good city car – that has already been answered. What we need to find out is whether the Korean giant can bring anything new to a class that gets ever more mature with each new arrival, while meeting the challenge of carving out a profit margin in an £8000 car.

One of the biggest problem that the Picanto faces, other than the Volkswagen Up or Fiat Panda, is the Hyundai i10, with which the Kia shares all its key components, from the chassis through to the two engines it offers: a 1.0-litre triple and a 1.2-litre four.

The cheapest Picanto is the sub-£8700 three-door 1.0 '1 Air' model, which comes with the bare necessities. Hardly comprehensive, but acceptable for an entry-level city car.

Can the Kia bring anything fresh to the class, and how easy is it to live with the basic Picanto as everyday transport?

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Kia range

Driven this week

  • BMW X3
    Car review
    19 January 2018
    The stakes have never been higher for BMW’s mid-sized SUV, now the X3 in its third generation. So can it deliver?
  • Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    19 January 2018
    Better looks, better value, better range, stronger performance and a quiet and relaxing drive make the Nissan Leaf a leading EV contender again
  • Volkswagen Up GTI
    First Drive
    18 January 2018
    Funky, light, enjoyable and even reasonably priced, the Volkswagen Up GTI is a car to be appreciated on its own compelling terms
  • Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI 110 Redline
    First Drive
    18 January 2018
    Our first flavour of the 1.0 TSI-engined Skoda Fabia on UK roads shows it’s versatile but not all that sporty
  • Ford Ecosport 1.0 Ecoboost 125 Zetec front
    First Drive
    18 January 2018
    Can the updated Ford Ecosport improve its reputation and become the small SUV of choice, or is it another misguided effort from the Blue Oval?