Are you keen on a Kia? Find out more about the South Korean car giant’s most popular models, and all the latest updates from design changes to a new range of engines .
Kia’s micro-car magicians have created a leader in its category with the latest Kia Picanto. And while it’s small in stature, the Picanto punches well above its weight in both aesthetics and performance.
Starting with its dazzling forward styling, the Picanto features four LED lamps in each headlight, and a ‘tiger nose’ nuzzle front grille.
Under the bonnet, the entry-level 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder engine gives a punchy 76 bhp which is certainly enough output for the city streets or for any drives out of town.
On the Picanto’s flanks, you’ll find 14- or 16-inch alloy wheels (depending on the trim) which stand out thanks to an intricate chrome floral pattern. Engine choices offer competitive fuel economy across the board. The 1.0-litre petrol claims 50.4 mpg, while the 1.25-litre option in manual shift provides extra power, and even if it’s a little less economical at 49.6 mpg, it still provides excellent value.
And while city car drivers are often forced to reconcile with poor boot space, the Picanto’s 255-litres – expanding to 1,050 litres with the seats folded down – make it a practical choice, too.
The cabin has a comfortable feel with plenty of storage cubbies like a spacious glovebox to keep it clutter-free. Neat touches include an adjustable cup holder meaning you’ll never have any worries about spillage.
Like most city cars, the Picanto is small and manoeuvrable, perfect for parking in tight city spaces and that’s made even easier with the inclusion of parking sensors and a camera on the top-rated X-Line S and GT-Line S trims.
And with the Picanto being punchy enough to head out of town and handle adventures on the open road, Kia looks again to have achieved micro-car greatness.
In the hatchback category, there is a refreshing new take on a modern Kia classic: its name is Rio, and it dazzles on the road.
There are four trims available: the ‘1’; the ‘2’ the ‘3’, and GT-Line S. At entry level, you get plenty of tech with an 8-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to integrate your smartphone. The top-trim GT-Line S offers an astounding array of features including front parking sensors (which are sensitive enough to recognise cyclists and pedestrians), blind-spot monitoring and keyless entry.
In the cabin, you’ll find comfortable cloth seating, along with that neat touchscreen featuring sat nav and on the top of the range models, Kia’s UVO Connect technology gives you access to live traffic information, weather updates, and local fuel prices.
Clever design offers extra space, with raised footwells in the front slope providing taller passengers with all the legroom they’ll need. Plus, with the car converting to five-door only, the rear windows (electric as standard) lower fully.
Kia’s motto is ‘The Power to Surprise’, and indeed the Stonic gets its name from an unexpected source: the combination of ‘speedy’ and ‘tonic’ – the notes at either end of the musical scale.
This small SUV has plenty of tuneful design features for the driver, with easily adjustable seating for a commanding ride height, and a cleverly designed cabin offering unobstructed visibility and commanding views. The Stonic has three engine choices. The 1.0-litre T-GDi petrol with turbo offers 118 bhp, a punchy return on apparently humble engine dimensions, with a not-too-shabby 0-62mph in under ten seconds, and is encouragingly responsive climbing the gears for motorway driving. The 1.4-litre petrol option provides 98 bhp while the 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder diesel option has a 87 bhp output. The latter does, however, offer an impressive fuel economy of 58 mpg in a motorway setting.
And while the Stonic’s 355-litre boot capacity is perhaps less roomy than some of its rivals, there’s more room for passengers in the back, making the car more comfortable for longer drives or journeys with a full complement of passengers.
Elsewhere in the interior, there are some cool quirks for the driver, like a nifty push-to-open sunglasses cubby and a leather steering wheel reminiscent of more traditionally prestige marques.
With the Stonic, you’ll enjoy the in-cabin comfy compactness of a smaller car but feel the commanding benefits of small SUV driving. It all means that even in a fiercely competitive class, the Stonic can be a small SUV star.