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The Kia Picanto 2013

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Kia Picanto

The Kia Picanto 2013

Bobby Buys
March 1, 2014

Stylish, sporty and irresistibly fun

South Korean motor company Kia started trading in 1944 as a manufacturer of steel tubing and bicycle parts, and in 1974 moved into the car business. In 1986 it joined forces with Ford Motor Company, but the Asian financial crisis of 1997 forced the company into bankruptcy.

All was not lost however, as the next year the Hyundai Motor Company gained control of 51% of Kia and the brand was reborn.

The new Kia Picanto benefits from this collaboration, as the Picanto is based largely on the Hyundai Getz. Originally released for the European market in 2004, the new Picanto second generation is a first for South Africa. It has an all-new design, improved standard features and an updated, modern interior.

The Picanto is available in four different models with a choice of two engines, a 998cc, 3 cylinder, 12 valve petrol engine or the more powerful 1248cc, 4 cylinder, 16 valve petrol version. Transmission options are a 5-speed manual gearbox or a 4-speed automatic box.

From the outside, the traditional Kia "tiger nose" is evident, with large headlamps and the somewhat oversized looking air intake. A stylish body crease runs the length of the car from the top of the front wheel arch to the rear light cluster. According to Kia the Picanto is a "small car that has grown up" and indeed the previous "cute and friendly" image has been changed into a more mature and stylish design, likely to turn heads in your local high street.

The interior has also been updated, with the all black dashboard dials subject to an orange backlighting behind the sporty looking steering wheel. Driver comfort is well catered for, with a steering column adjustable for both reach and angle and more than adequate seat adjustments.

The list of standard equipment is also impressive, keyless entry, driver and front passenger airbags, automatic air conditioning, central locking and front electric windows are all included. On selected models you can also opt for a sunroof and an ABS braking system.

On the road the Picanto is more an economic than sporty car; however, performance is adequate and the road feel, particularly in city driving, is good.

Motorway road and wind noise can be intrusive, but the car feels stable at speed. For the environmentally conscious, the Picanto has a very low carbon emission figure of 117g per km.

So what's the bottom line? All in all, the Picanto is sure to appeal to the younger driver and is set to make a significant impact on the A-market segment. The Kia brand already has a reputation for fun and quality at good value, and the Picanto does nothing to spoil this.

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