DOMINANT. That’s the only way to describe the position of Kia in the micro car market, with its 2019 Picanto X-Line part of a range that has outlasted and out-specced its rivals to be the car of choice in that space.
Mind you, it’s easy to be dominant when the competition is lacking. But saying that would take away from the fact the Picanto is actually a very good car, especially in full GT guise, where a turbo makes all the difference.
What makes this variant unique is that the X-Line features a sports body kit with SUV styling. It’s an odd thing but it actually looks really good. And it’s pleasantly surprising inside as well.
The 2019 Picanto X-Line interior is well finished and there are some nice touches throughout. The first thing that strikes you is the faux leather seats, finished in black with red seat bolster inserts, and red stitching.
While somewhat narrow, they are supportive, and the pedals are well positioned to allow room for a size 12 boot. It genuinely feels good, if not a little year 2000 Audi. Interior storage is good too, by city car standards, with 255 litres of space.
But if you’re looking for a small car to fit the family in to pop down to the shops; in the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi, “This is not the car you are looking for”. Leg space especially in the back seat is lets just say, non-existent, unless you are a very small child.
If you are, however, looking for a small CBD runabout for yourself or two of you, the Picanto is perfect. There’s plenty of technology too, including a reversing camera, cruise control and speed limiter, and all round power windows.
You’ll also find a good air-con, hill start assist, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone mirroring, 16-inch alloy wheels, and LED daytime running lights.
Safety wise, there are six airbags, and even city autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and forward collision alert. It’s pretty jam packed with value for a car with a drive away price of $16,190.
Under the hood is a tiny 1.2-litre four cylinder petrol engine, which makes a whopping 62kW of power and 122Nm of torque. 0-100km/h is seen in about 11.6 seconds. Essentially it translates to underwhelming performance on the road.
Our 2019 Kia Picanto X-Line was coupled with a 5-speed manual transmission, which made it slightly easier to push it along. But push it along is really what you have to do. A 4-speed automatic is also available if you feel that way inclined.
While the Picanto is no speedster, it is really good at navigating it’s way through CBD or residential spaces. Get it anywhere near a 110km/h zone and you can feel the Picanto cringe at the thought.
Building up any sort of speed, and keeping it there with any sort of hill in your path, isn’t the best driving experience. But when and if you meet the national speed limit, surprisingly it has a nice road presence.
It feels firm and planted on the ground. The steering is responsive and the chassis feels balanced, despite its small dimensions. Weird we know, especially for a car that weighs in at just 999kg.
Fuel consumption is a claimed 5-litres/100km, which is good, but not surprising considering the size and the modest power delivery. In the real world we averaged 6.2-litres/100km. Put the Picanto on the freeway and you will see 7.5-litres/100km.
Wind noise at speed is definitely noticeable, along with some harsh tyre noise from the tiny X-Line on the freeway, but around town it is quiet.
Should you be in the market for a car that is small yet reasonably spacious, good to drive, cheap to run and looks a little tougher than average, the 2019 Kia Picanto X-Line might just fit the bill.
The 2019 Kia Picanto X-Line is available in four colours; Aurora Black, Clear White, Signal Red and Titanium Silver.
Our test vehicle was provided by Kia Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Kia Picanto X-Line, contact your local Kia dealer.