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Used car focus: Kia Picanto – 2004 onwards

Picanto is the spark that’s re-ignited interest in the Kia brand in the UK.

It’s a high value, high spec and attractive package that appeals to a wide range of small car buyers. As a result, it’s been a popular model on the used market, is in strong demand, and residual values have remained firm.

According to Parker’s Car Price Guide, no other car lost as little – in terms of cash – than the Picanto in 2005. Retail prices currently start from around £3,850.


Trim levels are GS, LX and SE. GS has front electric windows and door mirrors, leather steering wheel, body-coloured bumpers, mirrors and door handles, central locking, front electric windows and tinted glass.

LX adds air-con, remote central locking, colour-coded grille and side mouldings, alarm and an MP3 CD/radio.

Top-of-the-range SE gains alloy wheels, sill extensions, rear spoiler, two-tone seats to match the body colour and front fog lamps.

Driving performance

Picanto is a really comfortable car to drive in town – just as it was designed to be. It has light steering and gearing that’s spaced to give lots of zip. However, the ride is wallowy on the motorway and this is particularly noticeable on undulating roads.

Through corners, there’s adequate grip for its size, but bodyroll is off-putting and the steering can be vague.


The dashboard is good-looking with all major controls angled towards the driver. Driving position is comfortable, although the steering wheel only adjusts for height.

Most buttons are big, chunky and easy to find, but some of the radio/CD controls are a bit fiddly. MP3 player on all but GS ties up with Kia’s aspiration for Picanto to be a young person’s car.


Two engines: a 60bhp 1.0 and a 64bhp 1.1, and as you’d expect, both suit town driving well, but run out of puff on motorway. The 0-62mph sprint is achieved in 15.9sec and 14.6sec respectively. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard, a four-speed automatic is optional.


Euro NCAP rates Picanto as a three star car, which is slightly disappointing for a modern supermini. ABS (with EBD) and dual front airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners and three-point seatbelts all round are standard. Sidebags are offered on some cars, too. Remote central locking and an immobilizer for security.

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