Review Kia Picanto

By Alexi Falson on 21 Jun 2021
image for Review Kia Picanto Kia has cemented itself as a serious manufacturer in almost every segment of the market. It’s smallest creation, the Picanto, has a lot of pressure on its shoulders, as manufacturers enter the micro hatch segment and try to undercut the existing kings with feature-packed hatches that tick all the boxes for less than $20,000.

The question remaining, then, is how does the latest Picanto perform against its rivals? We’ve put it under the microscope to find out how comfortable, feature-packed, safe, and economical the Picanto is to find out which micro-hatch is perfect for you.

Starting Price: $15,690

OnlineAuto Savings: Enquire now

Kia Picanto - S (PE) Specifications

Model Date 2021
Make KIA
Series JA MY21
Variant S (PE)
Transmission 5 SP MANUAL
Drive FWD
Engine MPFI
Engine capacity 1248
Engine configuration DUAL OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves
Engine RPM 6000 / 4000
Cylinders 4
Torque 122
KW 62
Fuel tank size 35.0
Fuel usage specs 5.0 / 0.0
CO2 117
ANCAP security rating 4

For more details and other variants, check Kia Picanto car page.

How Much Does It Cost?

The Kia Picanto lineup kicks off at just $15,690 for the base model S with a manual gearbox; if you’re looking for an automatic, the price lifts to $17,290. The mid-range Picanto GT-Line is priced from $17,140 with a manual transmission, with the automatic positioned slightly higher at $18,740. The range-topping Picanto GT is available as a manual-only offering, and is priced from $19,990.

How Much Can OnlineAuto Save You?

Using OnlineAuto’s car purchasing service, take advantage of the expertise of one of our car specialists to assist you in finding the best value model for you.

What Features Does the Kia Picanto Have?

Kia has done a great job at throwing in a tonne of features in even the entry-level S variant. The base model comes fitted with 14-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights with daytime running lights, cruise control, air conditioning, power windows, reversing camera with rear-mounted parking sensors, 4.2-inch instrument display screen, as well as an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and autonomous emergency braking.

Stepping up to the GT-Line adds a GT-Line styling package with 16-inch alloy wheels with a two-tone finish, LED daytime running lights and rear fog lights, powered and heated mirrors, premium seats, steering wheel and gear lever, alloy sports pedals and a sliding centre armrest.

The range-topping GT is fitted with sportier suspension, a more powerful turbocharged engine and a number of styling improvements that make it clear it is the most impressive pick of the Picanto bunch. 

Range Features:

  • 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • 14-inch steel wheels
  • Automatic headlights with daytime running lamps
  • Reversing camera with parking sensors
  • 16-inch alloy wheels (GT-Line & above)
  • Premium seats, leather steering wheel (GT-Line & above)
  • Sports-tuned suspension (GT)
  • Turbocharged three-cylinder engine (GT)

Kia Picanto Colours

Signal Red Premium Sparkling Silver Metallic
Aurora Black Pearl Lime Green Premium
Astro Grey Metallic Pop Orange Premium
Honey Bee Metallic Clear White Solid

Is it Comfortable to Drive?

While small cars offer a huge amount of benefits in the urban environment, they can often be troubled by the bumps and irregularities that plague Australian roads. The Picanto, however, behaves far better than a number of its rivals when it comes to offering a comfortable and confident driving dynamic. This is the result of Kia’s attention to detail with its Australian vehicles, which receive special tuning for our bumpy roads.

The end result of these tweaks is that the Picanto is perhaps the best performing car within its segment, and is capable on both smooth urban roads and country B-roads. The steering is extremely light, meaning the Picanto is easy to navigate through the city and even easier to park, thanks to its micro proportions. The suspension can handle bumps in the road surface and maintain a smooth driving feel, and in the sportier GT variant, provides a heap of fun through the corners.

Overall, the Picanto is difficult to fault in terms of its driving, providing a comfortable ride thanks to Kia’s attention to locally-tuned suspension. The base model’s engine does, however, work extremely hard to keep up at highway speeds, which can be frustrating on longer trips and impacts the Picanto’s economy figure. If your commute involves moderate highway stints, the GT variant is the best option for you. 

Is it Practical and Spacious?

For its size, the Picanto provides an admirable amount of space in the front of the cabin, which is laid out in an ergonomic and thoughtful package. Kia’s attention to detail is clear, with a cabin that looks far more sophisticated than its price tag might suggest. In terms of front occupant space and practicality, there’s inserts in the door sills for a water bottle on each side, with two cup holders and small storage area in the central console for a smartphone or loose items.

Headroom in the front of the cabin is not a problem for even the tallest of drivers, and, surprisingly, the rear of the cabin is relatively spacious for a car of this size. Adults might struggle on longer trips, but there is more than adequate leg and headroom in the rear of the cabin for passengers for short trips around town or an escape from the city. In terms of rear cargo storage, the Picanto offers 255L of space in the boot, which extends to 1010L with the rear-seats folded down. This practicality figure is lower than some of its key competitors like the MG3, although that car might not be as comfortable for rear passengers on long trips.

Is it Safe?

The Kia Picanto has been awarded a Four Star Safety Rating from ANCAP, where it scored 87% for occupant protection and 64% for child occupant protection, but 54% on pedestrian protection and 47% for safety assists. As standard, the Picanto comes fitted with autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, six airbags and a reversing camera with rear parking sensors.

Is it Fuel Efficient?

The base model and GT-Line Picanto models are powered by a 1.25-litre petrol engine which is rated at 5.0L per 100km in the S and GT-Line Manual, and 5.8L per 100km in the S and GT-Line automatic variants. This means that the manual Picanto is slightly more fuel efficient than its automatic relative. Fuel economy for the range-topping GT’s 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged unit is rated at 5.2L per 100km. Real-world driving will see these figures rise slightly, but overall, the Picanto is extremely fuel efficient, although highway driving can see the base model come slightly thirstier than these figures suggest.

Our Verdict: Is the Kia Picanto Worth it?

Considering just how competent the suspension is for Australian roads, the Kia Picanto is one of, if not, the best offering in the micro hatchback segment. There are few cars on the road that offer the full range of features that Kia throws into the Picanto for this price, and the fact that it is capable in both the city and on country B-roads, it’s difficult to fault this car. Combined with Kia’s attention to interior packaging and ownership programs, the Picanto is one seriously attractive offering for less than $20,000.

If you’re looking to get yourself into a Kia Picanto, click here to get a free quote and see how much OnlineAuto can save you on your next car, or call us on 1300 719 925

Five Specs You Need to Know

  1. Seven-Year, Unlimited KM Warranty with Capped Price Servicing
  2. 15,000km Service Intervals; 10,000 for turbocharged GT
  3. 5L per 100km Fuel Economy for Manual, 5.8L per 100km for Automatic
  4. 8.0-inch Multimedia Unit with Wireless Smartphone Connectivity
  5. 1.25-litre four-pot for S and GT-Line, 1.0-litre turbo for GT


  • Outstanding value for money
  • Ownership program
  • Comfortable and capable locally-tuned suspension


  • Base model’s engine works hard at highway speeds
  • Four speed automatic is underwhelming
  • Four-Star ANCAP Rating  

OnlineAuto Rating: 7.5/10

Kia Picanto Competition

Kia Picanto

Toyota Yaris
Volkswagen Golf
Kia Rio
MG MG3 Auto
Suzuki Swift


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

Have any questions? Call us on 1300 719 925

car icon
close sticky hub button


Maximum of 3 vehicles