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Well, where do we start? My wife wanted a new car something a little more reliable than her very old Astra, so we decided to have a look around. She wanted the car to be small stylish economical and reasonably priced, so after looking at the usual contenders (Ford Ka, Vauxhall Corsa, Citroen Saxo etc) we stopped on the off chance to see what the kia garage had to offer. Thankfully she had found a car she liked and seem to fit all of the criteria.
Comfort and Equipment:-
The equipment levels are high, we opted for the LX which gives you air con, remote central locking on both keys, colour coded bumper and wing mirrors, alarm and immobiliser, electric windows, leather steering wheel and gear shift, it also comes with a very tidy stereo system combining MP3 CD and Radio. There is plenty of room in the front seats although if you are over six foot tall I would advise against trying to get into the back seat, it's defiantly designed for the smaller more petite person. The seats are extremely comfortable and reasonable firm, with a sporty feel. The Picanto does not come with a spare wheel as there is just not any room for it, instead you get a can of gel which you use to spray into the valve on the tyre should you get a puncture. This will last long enough to get you home or to a garage.
Performance and Handling:-
There are two petrol engines a 60bhp 1.0 and a 64bhp 1.1, we opted for the 60bhp which is more than adequate and is well suited for town driving. Beware this vehicle will not be breaking records with a 0 to 60 0f 15 seconds and a top speed of 96, but it will return you excellent fuel economy at an average of 55mpg. The Picanto was designed to be a town car and hence is fabulous in town but rather wallowy on A roads and motorways.
There is lots of leg and head room, all Picantos come as five door which means getting in and out is very easy. There is very little space in the boot to give you an idea you will not fit a set of golf clubs in, nor if you decide to go shopping, a trolleys worth will end up on the back seat. There are plenty of little cubby holes dotted around including a sunglasses holder.
Behind The Wheel:-
The driving position is very good, the steering column adjusts for height but not for length. The dashboard is attractive but perhaps a little plastic looking, all the instruments and controls are angled towards the driver. There is good all round visibility with no black spots.
Reliability and Safety:-
We have not had any problems and it is said that mechanical problems with Kia's are few and far between. Euro NCAP rate the car with 3 stars which is a little disappointing, but it does come with ABS, EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution), dual front air bags, and side air bags as standard.
Cost:- We paid £6200 for our LX model although prices range from £5400 to £7200, residual prices seem to be very good as well with minimal depreciation from new. Servicing and parts can be a little expensive if anything should need replacing. These also have a low insurance group of 1 or 2 depending on which model you choose. It cost around £30 to fill your tank up and you can expect to get around 400 mile back (may be a little more).
This is the area I was expecting to have trouble but with the ever expanding dealer network it's very easy to find a dealer near you. Once you have found one the staff are very friendly and will tell you all of the pros and cons for there cars, which makes a refreshing change to the normal dealerships who will tell you anything just to get a sell.
Overall we bought are little Picanto in June, we have had no problems at all and are very pleased with it, so pleased in fact we will be changing it for a new one next year.