The Kia Picanto has been an excellent seller for Kia over the years with the original being released way back in 2004, an absolute age in car terms at least. This original model was heavily based on the Hyundai Getz and sold worldwide under a variety of names before it’s first refresh arrived in 2007. Further changes took place with the second generation Picanto launched in 2011 before we finally met the third generation Kia in 2017, a car that proved to be an instant success for the brand.
And now we get to the Picanto ‘GT-Line’ 1.0, a car that Kia hope will add some youthful vim and vigour to their venerable city Car.
Styling wise I think it’s fair to say that the ‘GT-Line’ is extremely successful from any angle you choose to mention. The newly highlighted and chrome surrounded front grille offers an aggressive new slant to this particular Picanto, as do the sports front and rear bumpers and side sills. What else then catches the eye when you walk around this exquisitely proportioned Kia?
There are the 16-inch alloy wheels, a sporting dual exhaust, privacy glass on the rear windows and tailgate, bi-function projection headlamp units, front fog lights, LED daytime running lamps and rear lights whilst a chrome belt line strip adds interest from the side. Overall, Kia have most definitely nailed the look of the Picanto ‘GT-Line’ first time out, presenting the car buying public with a city car that is as compact as it is stylish.
Step inside the surprisingly spacious Picanto, the longer wheelbase, higher roofline and new proportions helping to create the airy interior and the sporting theme continues with stainless steel pedals with non-slip rubber inserts, satin chrome interior door handles and supportive black and red faux leather upholstery. The overall impression that you’re left with is that this ‘GT-Line’ is rather more than the sum of it’s, rather sporting’ parts.
But let’s not forget about the practical side of this third generation Picanto either. The simplicity which should make up the DNA of any city car, especially one such as this that leans more toward the sporting end of the spectrum, is present and correct whilst luxuries really only amount to the leather trimmed steering wheel and gearshift. If you feel that you need a wireless phone charger, electric sunroof, heated front seats and steering wheel, 7″ touchscreen with Sat Nav and rear parking cameras etc. then the Picanto ‘GT-Line S’ is the model to go for but for me, the ‘GT-Line’ should just be about the driving with as few distractions as possible.
And what a driving experience the Picanto provides you with. There may only be a 998cc 3 cylinder engine under the bonnet that may only be able to deliver 66bhp @ 5500rpm and torque figures of 96 lb/ft @ 3500rpm but that is more than enough to allow this Kia to transform people’s ideas of what a city car is really capable of. A maximum kerb weight of 1,028kg certainly adds to the fun and allows the Picanto to use it’s engine to the full, after all light weight makes it easier for an engine to perform at it’s most efficient and yet still allows for better acceleration across the rev range. What’s perhaps even more impressive is how the Kia is still able to achieve all of this whilst achieving up to an excellent combined mpg of 64.2mpg. The best of both worlds you could say.
with the Kia Picanto’s three cylinder engine thrumming away quietly to itself upfront, there’s no hint yet of the fun to come once commuting duties have been dispensed with. As anyone with experience of previous generations of the Picanto or have already driven a derivation of this third iteration knows, the Kia is a master of getting you from home to work and back again, coping extremely well with traffic, potholes, dual carriageway and country lanes whilst it’s competitively small exterior dimensions make parking itself easier than finding the space in the first place.
Any worries that the ‘GT-Line’ would be too focused for the early morning run to work or the late afternoon journey home prove unfounded as the Picanto offers a more than comfortable ride quality that is easily comparable with it’s direct competition. The Kappa 1.0 MPI Engine, as previously mentioned combines efficiency, power and dynamic performance to provide a power plant that refuses to be pigeonholed, providing you with a characterful and exciting engine that is just as happy with the daily grind as it is when exploiting the ‘GT-Line’s rather more sporting nature.
The 5-speed manual transmission, Kia have confirmed, features friction-reduction measures for lasting performance and lets you select gears quickly, a feature that contributes to the excellent and positive feeling that you get when moving up and down the gearbox. And it’s this slick gearbox that contributes greatly to the feeling that this fizzing little city car gives you as you approach an enticing set of bends or country lane.
Take, for example, the B6161 Leathley Lane just outside of Otley, West Yorkshire, a sinuous ribbon of tarmac that takes you up hill and down dale, mixing quiet lanes through beautiful villages with open roads across blasted heath. What you have here is the perfect road for the ‘GT-Line’, a road who’s twisting topography offers you the chance to feel like you’re able to use the Picanto as nature intended. With the aforementioned 66bhp on tap there’s little chance of getting into trouble speed wise but what you do get to enjoy is the Kia’s handling.
McPherson strut front suspension, coupled Torsion beam axle rear and traditional rack and pinion steering allow you to pick any line you choose through the countryside, the Picanto dancing underneath you. It’s certainly no pocked rocket but that really doesn’t matter when driving it can be so much fun.
What you’ve got with the ‘GT-Line’ is a city car that can do the commute, go to the shops and drop the children off at school. Exactly what you’d expect. But then, when the circumstances allow, the Kia Picanto ‘GT-Line’ gives you that special something that only a special car can give you. Feedback aplenty through the steering and suspension, a throaty and characterful engine, great looks and excellent town friendly dimensions and the best bit?
Just £11,950 gets your own Picanto ‘GT-Line’ on the driveway.
And have I mentioned the 7 year 100,000 mile warranty yet?
Where will you go?