Auto Review: 2019 Kia Picanto GT

REMEMBER when your parents would tell you to eat all your vegetables so you would grow up big and strong? Now picture a standard Kia Picanto eating all its vegies, or better yet, all its spinach just like Popeye did. The result is the 2019 Kia Picanto GT.

If the term micro hot hatch is a thing, then this turbocharged pocket rocket is it. With its red grille and painted bold red inserts around its driving lights, the Picanto GT looks the business front on.

Its stance gives off a real small but tough persona. And that bold red look on the front, it’s everywhere else too, giving the micro hatch a sporty posture. Add in 16-inch alloys and the beefy look is complete.

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The 74kW 1.0-litre turbo power plant purrs its way through the twin exhaust tips poking out from beneath the rear bumper. Drive the revs up over the 2,500rpm mark though, and the Picanto GT excels. That’s when attitude takes over, leaving you with a big smile.

A 5-speed manual gear box is used to drive that engine and in our opinion adds a bucket of character to this little hatch. Flicking through the gears is a breeze with the feather light clutch, and there’s a genuine sporty feel to it.

The 2019 Kia Picanto GT weighs in at just 1,007kg. Which really means it handles like a go kart. A nimble, adaptive performer that’s perfect for zipping through city traffic. And when you add in racing pedals, it just serves to enhance the overall experience.

Due to its size, the added bonus is you can park it just about anywhere with ease, and the outstanding reversing camera makes that process even easier. Don’t be fooled though, the Picanto GT is just as much at home cruising up and down the freeway.

It has plenty of oomph for overtaking and will sit at the speed limit comfortably with no excessive vibration or high engine revving, and still with more power in the reserve tank if a little additional go is required.

Inside the cockpit, the sporty red accents are continued with inserts on the leather driver and passenger seats. There are also red sports accents on the door arm rests and red stitching on the leather steering wheel and gear stick.

Part of the charm of this car though is its simplicity. The Kia Picanto GT is not jammed packed full of features it doesn’t need. There is no blind spot assist, no SatNav, and there’s no option for an automatic transmission.

It does have a tilt adjustable steering column and 6-way adjustable driver’s seat. Despite all the red highlighting, Kia has managed to keep the interior refined, with just the right sporting feel, and avoided making it as trashy as a bad strip club.

The leather steering wheel isn’t just for flicking the Picanto GT around corners either; it also features the controls for audio, cruise control and Bluetooth functionality. You can of course access everything on the 7.0-inch infotainment system as well.

It’s here you’ll find Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a system so user-friendly that even Nan or Pop could use it as they shoot down to the shops or over to the day’s bingo action. Audio is pumped through a 4-speaker sound system.

Apart from the zippiness the 2019 Kia Picanto GT offers, and its tough kerbside stance, the colour range is also outstanding. Our test car donned Aurora Black, which features a very cool metallic speckle through it in the sun.

You could however choose Pop Orange, Lime Green, Honey Bee Yellow, Signal Red and Titanium Silver should the black not be for you. It’s pitted against the Fiat 500 and the Mitsubishi Mirage in the micro car class, but neither hold a candle to the Kia.

It comes with a 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty and is priced from $17,990 plus on-roads. You’ll need to part with an extra $520 for premium paint as well. What’s not to love though, it screams look at me, and is loaded with sporty performance.

It gives you a little more value than the standard offering, with only a little extra dip in the hip pocket, but leaves a much more satisfied smile on your face as the end result.

Our test vehicle was supplied by Kia Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Kia Picanto GT, contact your local Kia dealer.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior lok and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros - 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty; price point; fun to drive, easy to park; colour range; excellent reversing camera.
Cons - no climate control (manual air conditioning); no key-less ignition; no automatic transmission option; no SatNav.
Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin is the ride editor at Exhaust Notes Australia, founding editor of Two Wheel Addicts, a contributor at Bike Review and panel judge for Harley Davidson's Breakout Boss competition. Andrew has a love for anything on two wheels whether that be sports, naked or adventure bikes, with a guilty pleasure for cruisers.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty; price point; fun to drive, easy to park; colour range; excellent reversing camera.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> no climate control (manual air conditioning); no key-less ignition; no automatic transmission option; no SatNav.Auto Review: 2019 Kia Picanto GT