By Samuel Smith
Last updated on: November 15, 2019 at 2:30 am
It might be a cliché, but the expression ‘punches above its weight’ succinctly describes the Kia Picanto S.
Winner: Kia Picanto S
Engine: 1.2 litre petrol
Transmission: 4-speed auto
ANCAP Safety Rating: 4 stars
Second place went to the Mazda2 Maxx and the Kia Rio S placed third.
What sets it apart from the rest
The Picanto S dominated in the value for money category, finishing first for standard features and insurance cost, and equal best for pricing, depreciation and warranty.
It also scored consistently high in running and repair costs, fuel consumption, safety and braking.
Costing just $16,790, the Picanto’s outstanding value is further enhanced with an industry-leading 7 year/unlimited kilometre warranty and capped-price servicing. And if you want to drive your dollar even further, there’s a 5-speed manual transmission version for $1500 less.
- It costs just $16,790
- A 7-year/unlimited kilometre warranty
- A surprisingly mature ride and handling setup
- 6 airbags, stability control, 4-wheel disc brakes
- Reversing camera and rear park sensors
- A 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system
What it’s like to drive
The Picanto’s 1.2 litre 4 cylinder petrol engine has been carried over from the previous generation and holds its own in the city commute or zipping around the suburbs.
Kia’s 4-speed auto might seem a little old-school in an age where 6 or more ratios are common, but it’s fit for the intended purpose of an urban runabout and consistent with the budget price.
As might be expected, venturing out on the open road takes the little power plant out of its comfort zone. Cruising at the 100km/h speed limit sees more than 3000rpm dialled up on the tachometer.
How the finalists compared (scores for each category from 1-10)
|Light cars||Kia Picanto S||Mazda2 Maxx||Kia Rio S|
|Cost of depreciation||9||2||5|
|Running & repair costs||9||9||8|
|Warranty & dealer access||9||7||9|
|Build & finish quality||5||6||5|
|Smoothness & quietness||5||6||5|
Images: Mark Rogers, Magnum Photography Australia