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 problems 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?