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Kia Picanto 2: Test Drive Review

Date: 06 February 2012

The second-generation Picanto marks a significant shift upmarket from its cheap and cheerful predecessor, with sharp looks, a better quality cabin and a more engaging drive.

Tested here with the 1.25-litre 84hp four-cylinder engine, a 1.0-litre 68hp three-cylinder unit is also available. The larger engine is the better of the pair, benefiting greatly from its modest increase in power. It's not overly competent at motorway speeds but thrives at anything less, while the ride and handling are both impressive. Cars fitted with Kia's Independent Stop and Go (ISG) stop/start system are even more appropriate for urban drivers, not least because they bring emissions down from 109g/km to 100g/km and return 65.7mpg.

Equipment is generous for a hatchback at this end of the market. The mid-spec Picanto 2 gets air conditioning, full electric windows and mirrors, and a leather steering wheel.

At £10,195, the 1.25 Picanto 2 is starting to look pricier than its Budget roots suggest it should. Better value can be found elsewhere in the range with the 1.0-litre variant, but you'll compromise on power as a result.