The Kia Picanto Australian Open Edition is bright, with its yellow accents in the grill, around the fog lights and in the rear bumper. The colour of course stems from tennis balls, as Kia launched the special AO edition after announcing to once again be a major sponsor of the event next year. It looks bigger and higher than the standard Picanto S due to the new thicker body kit and raised suspension. It gives the AO edition a more rugged and sturdy look – not unnecessary on a micro car of its size. Yet the sporty design of the GT-Line isn’t lost, giving this special edition the best of what Kia has available for the smallest of its cars.
Because of its small size the Kia Picanto (which under the hood is the same as the AO edition) is easy to handle and manoeuvre. There is literally no parking spot the micro car doesn’t fit in. Though the automatic gearbox only has 4 gears it does the job when running around town. On the highway the 5thgear that the manual provides makes the engine a bit more quiet and keeps the revs down, but its only available on the base model. Though we didn’t expect much in regards to performance from the 1.25L petrol engine that puts out 62kW and 122Nm, it gets you going pretty well because of the low weight of the car.
The four-wheel disc brakes do a good job and bringing the Picanto to a halt. The standard 14-inch steel rims (with hubcaps) seem a tad small underneath the car, but on the AO edition (as with the GT-Line) you get 16-inch alloys, which not only look better but also give you a little more rubber on the road. This improves the feeling you get through the steering wheel and stability. Its suspension equally does a good job in making the ride comfortable, not throwing its occupants around as with some other micro cars. And the Picanto is safe, fitted with six airbags, forward collision warning system and auto emergency braking. The reversing camera might prevent backing up into a pole, but due to its size you can see pretty much around the car by hanging out of the window as well.
The cabin of the AO edition is pretty much the same as the one of the GT-Line, with a black and red cabin. The only thing upgraded are the steering wheel, gear knob and seats which are now fitted with ‘premium fabric’ instead of the standard cloth. This wasn’t particularly necessary as the materials in the GT-Line were already comfortable, but still a nice plus. In general the Picanto is a nice place to be when sitting in the front seat, with access to a massive (compared to the rest of the cabin) 7-inch touchscreen and easy to operate controls. Unfortunately a mid-arm rest is missing, but this isn’t a great loss.
For the passengers it’s a bit more cramped, but if you’re smaller then 180cm it’s actually more spacious then you would expect. Especially for kids or when using one of the two ISOFIX anchor points the Picanto offers plenty of space. The trunk fits 255 litres – enough for your groceries – but when folding the backseat this goes up to 1010 litre, which even makes a visit to Ikea possible.
It’s the price which is the main seller for the Kia Picanto. The manual base model S starts at just over $14,500, with the automatic version being $1300 more expensive. The GT-Line, which gets you the bigger wheels, LEDs all around, electric folding mirrors with integrated side indicators and – last but not least – alloy sport pedals is $17,490. The automatic is standard for this trim level, as with the AO edition, which will set you back an additional $500. You don’t pay this for just some fancy colours and two different badges though, but mainly for the bigger and bolder body kit plus raised suspension providing a sportier ride.
If you’re after a small (micro) car that’s easy to throw around and park in the city the Picanto should be on top of your list. It’s inexpensive, fun to drive, easy on fuel (5.8L/100km). Unfortunately the small 35-litre fuel tank makes that you still have to go to the pump quite often, but filling it up won’t hurt as much. With create comforts as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard in the comfortable interior its also a nice place to be in, especially the upgraded GT-Line. Add to this equation the exclusivity of a limited 800 vehicle run of the special AO edition and you know you’ve got your hands on something special. And with the body kit and improved suspension if doesn’t only look, but also drives better then ever before.
Interested in a test drive? Motorama Kia is the place to be - so make sure you come and see the Motorama Toyota team in Moorooka or Browns Plains.
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