Review: Kia Picanto GT Line

Review: Kia Picanto GT Line
Review: Kia Picanto GT Line

It looks sportier and can back up those looks

This is the third-generation Picanto, and kitted out with some higher-end GT Line sporty bits. Will that be enough to fend off style-conscious city cars like the VW Up or the Toyota Aygo?

Kia Picanto GT Line 1.2 MPI ISG

Price £12,500 (tbc)
Engine: 1.2-litre, four-cylinder, petrol
Power: 83bhp
Torque: 90lb/ft
Gearbox: Five-speed manual
Kerbweight: 976kg
0-62mph: 12sec
Top speed: 107mph
Economy: 62.8mpg
CO2/tax band: 104g/km, 19%

It’s certainly got quite an aggressive, confident air about it, from that bluff front end with its high-intensity foglamps through past those sideskirts to the oversized rear lights. All this is fitted to a heavily revised chassis which is stiffer and lighter than the previous model. It also has a longer wheelbase yet that front overhang has been shortened, adding to that bluff front end look.

Under the bonnet is the alternative to the 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, a four-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol unit with 83bhp and 90lb/ft of torque. That’s not exactly supercar territory and the initial concern must be that there won’t be enough grunt to back up the looks.

However, the four-cylinder engine has enough low-down go to propel the Picanto forward with some decent enthusiasm. It’s not exactly a rocket ship, but this may well be either a first or second car for someone, and as such it’s about right. It pulls cleanly from about 2000rpm and is then fairly linear. Gear ratios are reasonably high for decent fuel economy so that does hinder acceleration, but overall it’s a responsive package.

The revised chassis and suspension means a firmer ride, one that can crash a bit on bad surfaces, but it also means the handling is quite crisp, with minimal roll and decent turn in, helped by some well-weighted steering input.

The engine is definitely more refined, something you’ll appreciate under all loads in the cabin. The cabin has decent space for four, and the front two seats are decently supportive and comfy. There are sporty touches like a flat-bottomed steering wheel and leather-look upholstery, but it’s unclear yet whether these will be standard on GT Line trim or an option.

The UK will get five trim levels: 1, 2, 3, GT Line and GT Line S. As yet we don’t know prices but they’ll probably be competitive. Will this GT Line be worth it? Of course that depends on the final price, but it also depends on the market. Older drivers might be concerned that the sporty appearance, and it is successfully sporty, will be at odds with a more mundane performance.

But Kia is after the 20-somethings here, not crusties, and a car that drives quite well, has some performance but isn’t scary and which looks pretty fit may well find some favour. Around town it’s great, being easy to manoeuvre and park, and it would make a practical daily transport just that bit more eye-catching. This might prove a winning combination.

Living with: Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio

Can Alfa Romeo really make a BMW M3-beater?There’s nothing like living with a car to find out what it’s really like. The road testers

Review: Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus

There are some surprising oversights but they don’t stop Audi’s stunning drop-top appealingYou could save yourself £25,000

Review: Porsche 911 GT2 RS

A racing driver describes this 911 as ‘ridiculous’. ExcellentThere we were, minding our own business at Silverstone, when the winner

Review: Skoda Kodiaq Scout

The dearest model in the Kodiaq lineup is fully loaded on kit, but what about ability?SUVs look like they should be handy off road, but the