car industry has been growing rapidly during the last decade. Not only
Hyundai group became one of the world's top 10 car makers, but the
of products also reflect its rising trend. Today's Korean cars are
cheaper than their rivals, but they are far more competitive than
in other areas such as styling, build quality, comfort and dynamics.
the footprints of Hyundai, its subsidiary Kia is also going the quality
route. However, until now all of the "New Age" Kia are derived from
Hyundai models, for example, Cerato is derived from Hyundai Elantra,
is converted from Hyundai Equus, Optima is simply a reskinned Hyundai
Now the first self-developed New Age Kia is finally born - Kia Picanto.
It uses a new platform and, at least for now, not sharing with any
home, Picanto is destined to Europe, the toughest battleground for mini
cars. If it could succeed there, it could also win at anywhere else.
to the comments by European car testers, the sign is pretty good.
one knows where Picanto was styled. Korean car makers prefer to employ
Italian styling houses but they don't like to let you know. The
design looks very much like European mini cars. It's pretty without
special, except the odd grille. The fat profile encloses a spacious
4 adults can sit comfortably. In particular, rear passengers enjoy more
generous legroom than its strongest rival, Fiat Panda, though the
roofline doesn't offer as much headroom. The trunk volume measures only
157 litres. Luckily, rear seats can be folded to increase luggage
to 882 litres. Better still, the load floor is flat when the seats are
It is sad to
of dashboard and console are so outdated while the plastic materials
match the Fiat. The driver's seat cannot be adjusted up and down, so
need to adjust the steering column instead. Visibility of mini cars is
often good, this one is without exception.
the chassis is conventional monocoque while suspension is MacPherson
up front and torsion-beam at the rear. As the Picanto was tweaked on
and UK roads, it is not as softly sprung as most Japanese K-cars,
it European-style body control and ride character. Nevertheless, its
cannot match the suppleness of Fiat Panda and the best European minis.
It feels most at home in town traffic, thanks to light steering and
gearshift, but on highway it also runs stable and quiet.
engine has only a single camshaft and 3 valves per cylinder. In
to long stroke design, it produces just 65 horsepower. This car is
never fast, but the maximum 69lbft of torque arrives at just 2800rpm,
its performance in town. However, it cannot match Fiat Panda's Super
engine in refinement, because it gets noisy and coarse at high rev.
have any single area outstanding, its overall package is competitive.
most other Korea cars, it is quite fun to drive. In addition to the low
price / high equipment level advantage, it is likely to attract a lot