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2021 Kia Picanto GT Review

November 25, 2021
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Bowen

Bowen's Report Card


2021 Kia Picanto GT Review

THE BOWEN SCORE

“The Kia Picanto GT ticks so many boxes”

I love getting in a new car, the day the novelty wears off I’ll disappear into the ether. There are only a handful of cars I just can’t cop. Every MG, the Suzuki Jimny and any Haval. It may surprise you that I find my next subject totally irresistible. The Kia Picanto GT ticks so many boxes, so let’s roll.

Performance

The Kia Picanto GT sits above the GT-Line and the S, it’s for the poor among us. It scores a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine. Other models make do with a 1.25-litre four-cylinder petrol engine minus a turbo.

The GT engine produces 74kW and 172Nm. Sure, they’re small digits but this thing weighs just 1012kg. A steroid infused bikie could probably bench press one, then set it alight in a back alley somewhere.

If you can’t drive a manual, look away now. There’s only a five-speed self shifter for the GT grade. It’s almost perfect and really adds to the Picanto’s charm. 

I shit you not, I love this car.

 

The Drive

The Picanto is one of those cars that feels like it’s cornering at warp speeds but in actual fact it’s about as slow as a wet week.

The suspension tune is calibrated for Aussie conditions, which is admirable. The GT scores “sports tuned suspension and steering”. The fun that injects is worth the added coin. However, I’ve never felt any Picanto variant had a sloppy setup.

The alloy rims are 16” and the rubber around them is wider and thinner over the standard 14” steel offerings or 195/45 R16 if you must know.

This whole package delivers a loveable experience. It’s rather unique too, city cars are hardly landing in our driveways. The competition is lacking too, only the Volkswagen Polo really offers up a fight. The Mazda 2 is worth a look, but it’s priced from $23,190.

The latter two are also as boring as the back of a bus.

The Picanto is one of those rare cars that attracts and deserves a human name.

Like Cynthia.

Design

The GT scores a body kit that borders on toy-like, but who doesn’t like toys? There’s a GT badge at the rear whole the new look KIA emblem debuts as well.

It’s really annoying that Kia still uses old school halogen projection headlights. They’re only just above the technology found in a candle. There are LED daytime running lights, so I’ll move on.

Your bum will be accommodated by premium seats with red stitching.

Technology

The instrument cluster includes a 4.2″ colour display. Most operations are carried out via the 8″ centre touchscreen. Wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless and wired Android Auto are a big deal. It’s becoming more common, but there are plenty of luxury cars getting around with the need to plug your phone into a USB port.

BUT.

Wired Apple CarPlay is NOT supported. So, if you need to charge while driving Apple CarPlay is goneski.

Safety

All the must have safety tech is crammed in. Autonomous Emergency Braking with Forward Collision detection is standard. As are:

  • Rear view camera with dynamic parking guidelines
  • High-mounted rear stop light
  • Dusk-sensing automatic headlights
  • LED Rear fog light
  • Child restraint anchorage points (3 Top Tether & 2 ISOFIX positions)
  • 3-point ELR seatbelts on all positions
  • Driver & front passenger SRS airbags
  • Front side SRS airbags
  • Curtain SRS airbags
  • Front seatbelt pre-tensioners with load limiters
  • Rear outboard seatbelt pre-tensioners
  • Side door impact beams
  • Child-proof rear door locks
  • Impact sensing auto door unlocking

It still holds a four star ANCAP rating, one that was based on the 2017 test.

Comfort

Head room is good thanks to its boxy shape. The front seats are only manually adjustable. The cabin offers just enough bling to keep me happy. Although ultimately this is a cheap car, as a result many materials feel and look a tad budget. There’s a USB port and 12 volt power upfront along with two cup holders and two door bottle holders in the door pockets.

Value For Money

The Kia Picanto GT has a drive-away price of $21,490. The only option was the “Signal Red” premium paint, that’s an extra $520 which is basically theft.

Fuel economy is rated at 5.2L/100km on the combined cycle. That can easily climb, although I will admit this: nothing goes quicker than a press car.

It also only has a 35-litre tank, that can accommodate regular unleaded.

Kia offers a seven-year unlimited kilometre warranty. Servicing intervals are 10,000km. Pricing is capped at a total of $3,127 up to 70,000km.

What I Love

It offers a go-kart style experience, without feeling like a passing track could blow it off the M2.

Bowen’s Report Card

The Kia Picanto GT is almost without peer. It’s simple, but attractive. It’s tiny, yet bats above its average. People may be quick to judge you, I say get stuffed. There’s no shame in driving an affordable, feature packed turbo charged micro machine. Just don’t have a prang, ultimately size does matter. I award the Kia Picanto GT a 86 out of 100.