Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Picanto Is a Fine Pick

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Picanto Is a Fine Pick

Article excerpt

Byline: Bruce Booth

IT'S no surprise the ever-growing band of funky superminis have become the rage. Escalating fuel prices, higher insurance premiums and dearer road tax for higher-polluting vehicles are making drivers take a hard look at ways of cutting running costs. One model that certainly made a lot of waves was the second-generation Picanto from Kia, a not-so-little cracker which oozed class and attitude by the bucketload. Sophisticated, classy, safe and secure, and with a build quality that was the envy of many competitors, this little gem helped take the supermini sector by storm. Downsizing itself doesn't mean that you have to sacrifice comfort or style, as this Koreanbuilt machine confimed. Following in the heels of the award-winning Sportage, Sorento, Soul, cee'd and Venga models, the new Picanto came of age, with its more purposful front end, muscular-look wheel arches and sculpted sides giving a mature look, while inside the cabin the design and quality of trim, fixtures and fittings helped it become major player in the hotly-contested small car sector. The Picanto was stretched by just 60mm, but by increasing the wheelbase by 15mm, it gave it much more legroom and luggage space than the original model.

Under the bonnet came the choice two new "Kappa" petrol engines, either a one-litre, three-cylinder unit or a slightly larger 1.25-litre, four-cylinder sibling. Both offered huge improvements in both power and fuel economy, while CO? emissions were also drastically reduced, so much so that the three-pot one-litre model broke the magical 100g/km barrier. The quality of ride, handling and grip certainly couldn't be faulted, while the suspension set up with its softer springs of- of fered all on aboard a comfortable and relaxed ride. Kia kept things nice and simple for the 2011 launch of the Picanto, with just three levels of specification on offer. …

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