2024 Kia Picanto GT-Line (car review)

Known as the Picanto, its name is derived from ‘Picante’, which means ‘spicy’ – well at least that’s the online consensus. The important question is whether Kia’s 2024 incarnation, in GT-Line trim, exudes that “Ay, Caramba” the moniker implies.

More mild heat than scorching chilli, the Picanto is the smallest car Kia offers, and is very affordably priced at $22,490, with a 5-speed manual gearbox. For an extra $500, you can grab the Astro Grey colour of our tester.

That extra coin also buys you Sparkling Silver, Aurora Black Pearl, Signal Red, Sport Blue or Adventurous Green. A 4-speed automatic transmission adds another $1000 to the price. The Picanto follows Kia’s angular styling and straightened edges design language.

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The GT-Line rides on 16-inch alloys with a square waffle sort of appearance. Right angled daytime running lights in the head and taillights echo the revised Carnival and Sorento, or any of Kia’s EV range, with light bars across the front and back at night.

2024 Kia Picanto GT-Line
2024 Kia Picanto GT-Line

There is little to no rear overhang, with the boot seemingly sitting over the rear axle. It’s a cleverly packaged motor vehicle. That said, sitting in the Picanto as a 182cm tall person is interesting.

We reckon you could comfortably sit in the rear seat and still reach the pedals adequately, if only the steering wheel could reach that far. It’s compact, there’s no denying that, but it’s not uncomfortable.

In the GT-Line, the steering wheel features a flat bottom or what Kia calls ‘D-cut’. The faux grip doesn’t have the nicest feel for long periods, leaving dimples in your skin if you use the nine and three hand positions.

The seats are adequate, but not hugging in any way. Kia notes the seats are premium, without saying they’re leather, so we’ll assume they are fake. They do at least look and feel nice. The second row is tight and just about fits a child’s booster seat.

2024 Kia Picanto GT-Line
2024 Kia Picanto GT-Line

There are three tether points across the rear seats but you would be ambitious to attempt fitting that many all at once. We wouldn’t recommend a rear-facing child seat, assuming you could even physically fit one in the space.

The boot is narrow, but deep, offering 255-litres. The second row can fold down to a not entirely flat arrangement and 1010-litres of space. They even managed to include a space saver spare with a jack stand and tools under the floor. Impressive for a micro hatch.

The doors and panels are quite thin though, so road and engine noise is that bit more noticeable, particularly with the radio off. Even the windscreen wiper motors can be heard when activated.

Audio is delivered via a simple four speaker and two tweeter arrangement, that’s more than fine for a car of this size. Kia has included a colourful 4.2-inch instrument display with digital numbers for speed and tachometer, but there’s no indication of where the redline is.

dash
Inside the 2024 Kia Picanto GT-Line

With a manual transmission, that’s kind of important. Other basic information is on offer though, and you have the ability to change between three colours, depending on your personality for the day.

An 8.0-inch infotainment screen is perched upon the dashboard. It’s functional, but misses out on native satellite navigation. Thankfully, it has wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as a USB-A and USB-C port up front, and a single USB-C port in row two.

While we don’t expect the GT-Line trim to leave anything behind, there are a few blanked out areas by the gear shift where we suspect the drive mode buttons would go in the automatic models.

This small car comes with an impressive suite of safety and assistance features too, including blind-spot monitoring, autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, and rear cross-traffic alert, to name a few.

rear seats
Inside the 2024 Kia Picanto GT-Line

Cruise control does an okay job, with hills providing a little bit of a challenge at times. When combined with the manual gearbox, it’s best to use your own inputs and gearing to slow the car down on a descent or drop a gear or two to assist on an incline.

We found that even standard sized parking spaces feel massive and seem to go on forever in the Picanto, with reversing aided by a high resolution monitor with active guides. Visibility around the car is pretty good.

All-in-all, the Picanto GT-Line is an interesting car to drive. On the one hand, you know this is a small vehicle from the moment you turn the key. The 1.2-litre 62kW/122Nm engine springs to life, but there’s just a bit of rawness about the sound.

It provides reward when you work it hard and make the revs do their thing, helping the car get up to speed reasonably well. It’s no rocket ship and no one would expect it to be, but it can move.

boot
Inside the 2024 Kia Picanto GT-Line

Throw in some bends and the car holds, giving you more confidence in its abilities. Indeed, while the Picanto GT-Line makes for a great city car, if those commutes involve a winding mountain pass, you can be assured you’ll have some fun on the way as well.

The 5-speed manual shifter is easy to use, without feeling like the gearbox is made of rubber, while the pedals are arranged well, but feel a little plastic. Fuel economy is a claimed 5.4-litres/100km, and we managed 4.6-litres in real world testing.

Backed by a 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty, with 24-hour roadside assist if you service it at a Kia dealer, it’s a friendly and honest little hatchback. While not quite as hot as a habanero chilli, there’s definitely enough picante left in this little package.

You can find out more by visiting the Kia Australia website, or via your local dealership.

Our test vehicle was provided by Kia Australia for independent review purposes.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Driving experience
7
Exterior styling
7
Interior look and feel
7
Technology and connectivity
7
Family friendiness
6.5
Value for money
8

SUMMARY

Pros - small, capable city car; better than expected handling; feature packed.
Cons - road and engine noise quite loud; cheap plastics, particularly on the steering wheel.
Daniel Collins
Daniel Collins
Daniel has had a keen interest in cars since getting his first Matchbox toy as a young kid. If he's not car spotting while out on the roads, he'll be plane spotting watching the sky, or diving into one of his many favourite sci-fi universes.

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<strong>Pros -</strong> small, capable city car; better than expected handling; feature packed.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> road and engine noise quite loud; cheap plastics, particularly on the steering wheel.2024 Kia Picanto GT-Line (car review)