So has the Picanto moved the game on? In some ways, yes.

It’s not so much a seismic shift as a gentle tremor, but Kia has achieved a level of perceived maturity with the latest Picanto that no rival can quite match.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
The most mature car in its class. Great ride, running costs and style

In truth, this is probably about as much improvement as the class could expect, given that it is now saturated with models that satisfy a broader range of requirements than an £8500 car has ever offered before. In this hugely competitive environment, all that’s stopping the Kia Picanto from topping the class is the presence of the Hyundai i10 and the VW Up.

For much the same price, the i10 provides more equipment and a gutsier four-cylinder engine that’s barely any less economical in the real world, while being more fun to drive.

The Picanto suffers fewer compromises for its price and size than any rival. It’s nothing so restrictive as a city car; it’s simply a short hatchback.

It may still have a couple of flaws, but the fact is that it is now challenging for class leadership.

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week