Youthful image and keen handling for a three door

Kia Picanto 3-doorsubmit
Kia Picanto 3-doorsubmit

Launched with five doors, Kia’s latest Picanto offered a little more of most things and a major leap forward in quality, style and maturity.

Now it’s the turn of the three-door range and the emphasis has shifted to sporty aesthetics and trim in an effort to project a more youthful image.

And it looks just great.

One characteristic that Kia was keen to carry over from the previous Picanto is that car’s perky feel and that will be a valuable asset for the sportier-looking three-door version of the new car.

Although the old Picanto was never quick, it handled reasonably crisply and the steering was geared such that it felt almost criminally good fun to punt around city streets, even if your speed never exceeded 30mph. Okay, so the 1.0 and 1.1-litre engines were almost impossible to tell apart but it was a car that put a smile on your face. The latest Picanto offers a bit more variation between its pair of powerplants, with entry level buyers seeing 69bhp from their 1.0-litre engine while those opting for the 1.2-litre engine have 85bhp at their disposal.

The good news for those looking for a grin behind the wheel is that the Picanto delivers with keen handling, not too much understeer when you’re pushing on and a more than reasonable ride. The Picanto’s all-disc braking system, which is standard on all models fitted with Electronic Stability Control, is backed up with standard ABS anti-lock, electronic brake force distribution and emergency ‘brake assist’ systems. Stopping distances from 100 km/h (62 mph) are among the class best at 41.0 metres.