The last time we saw a Kia Picanto was back in 2015 during our $20k Challenge. I was intrigued to see how it had grown in the last 3 years.

We’d be taking the 2018 Kia Picanto X Line for our review week.

What’s In The 2018 Kia Picanto Range?

The Picanto range comes in 4 variants. The LX Manual (order only), the LX Auto, the GT Line and finally the X Line – our review car. The whole range shares the 1.25L DOHC MPI D-CVVT petrol engine that puts out 62kW of power and 122Nm of torque.

The range is all fairly similar with small differences or different styles set them apart. The two LX models are identical in every way except for the difference of 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual gearboxes. The manual is $18,490 and the automatic is $18,990.They both have 14” alloy wheels, ABS brakes, front, side and curtain airbags, remote keyless entry, rear parking sensors, halogen daytime running lights, bulb style headlights and electronically adjustable and heated side mirrors.

On the inside, they both have black cloth seats, composite leather steering wheel and gear shift knob, 7” touchscreen with radio, MP3 and 6 speakers, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, USB input, Bluetooth, cruise control, manual air conditioning, power windows, remote central locking and auto light control.

The GT and X Line also share the differences from the LX models, both having what the LX models have except for black artificial leather with black insert seats, climate controlled air conditioning, power folding side mirrors, projector style headlights, LED daytime running lights, proximity key and Start/Stop Button. Both the GT and X Line are $21,490. The GT and X Line are basically that same car except for exterior styling. The GT has red highlights and the bottom front grill similar to the LX models. The X Line has the lime green highlights with a different bottom front grill.

For a full and up to date list of all the specifications please see the Picanto Range.

First Impressions Of The 2018 Kia Picanto X Line

Well, you can’t miss the lime green highlights that are on the front and back of the car. I for one think they are awesome – they are a good way to make what might appear to be a not so exciting car more appealing to a younger generation of drivers and make it stand out from the crowd. Combine that with the aggressive front grille and really angular lights this car just looks great.

The X Line takes some of its stylings from the SUV world, which can be seen from the fact that it does have a higher ride height and having accentuated wheel arches with black plastic, which on this white car do add a good contrast showing the details of the car.

What’s The Inside Like On A 2018 Kia Picanto X Line?

Being that the Picanto X Line is sharing the top of the range space with the GT Line I expected the Picanto to have a nice interior. The interior was nice but one of the first things that I noticed was that the green highlights on the exterior did not continue on the inside, I would have liked some highlights on the inside as I feel it would have tied the design together.

Apart from that however the interior was very nice with leather steering wheel, touchscreen and plush carpets being some of the first things I noticed.

The seats themselves were comfortable but although they looked like they had support on the sides, it did not really feel like it. They were almost like a lounge chair, very cushy and comfortable at first but as I found out if doing any long drives or stuck in traffic for long periods, I did find myself getting a sore back and would need to adjust my seating position. To add to this however I am probably at the max size to be able to fit in this car comfortably. At 6’4” I had the seat all the way back and my knees where either side of the steering column. Then I looked behind – there was no way that anyone was going to sit behind me, there was maybe 2 inches between the seats if that.

Having a better look at the rear seats they looked to be as comfy as the front but I could not fit in to try them out to well. Even with the front seats forward its a bit of a squeeze in the back. Alright for kids but not adults, but remember this is a city car so although it may not have a lot of room on the inside it made up for it on the outside by being really easy to manoeuvre – more on this later.

Looking to the front again, in the centre you have the 7” touchscreen infotainment system, which has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, USB input, Bluetooth along with radio and the settings menu for the car. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are quickly becoming the go-to accessory to have in a car, as it does make life a little easier. Just connect your phone and you have hands free driving for calls, your music, and sat nav.

Below the infotainment you have your climate control, which does not have dual climate control but I don’t think it would have worked in such a small car anyway. Below this is your 12V socket, AUX in and USB port.

Moving to the bottom of the centre console you find a little cubby that is handy for storing your phone while it is plugged into the car. But also sometimes even more handy was how the cupholders in front of this were incorporated – they were open to the cubby area which added more space if needed but if you did have a drink you could push a button on either side and the middle of the cup holder would rotate around from the side to form the area to put your cup. A good use of limited space.

One downside I did find was the armrest in the centre console; it was a fair way back and almost behind me, and I had the seat all the way back so it was uncomfortable to use so I ended up not really using it.

Jumping outside and around to the boot to see what we had to work with. I assumed there would be almost nothing but was surprised to find that there was a fair bit of room there, 255 litres to be exact. It went down more than you would think to give you more room but to my surprise there was a still a spare space saver wheel under the boot floor

For such a small car you are really not missing out on things you would find in bigger cars.

What Does The 2018 Kia Picanto X Line Drive Like?

Right, time to get out on the road and see what it can do. When I first got in I had put my belt on and went to turn it on and thought, damn left the key in my pocket. Having struggled to get the keys from my pocket, I face palmed. There was no key on the keyfob. I looked up and just behind the steering wheel on the left was the push button start. Although I felt like an idiot I also thought this is awesome, a push button start on a nearly $20K car, this is rare to see especially when there are still new $60k+ cars that have a key you have to turn.

I have to admit when I first looked at the specs of this car I was a little worried that it was just a 1.25-litre engine without a turbo. But even pulling off the lot of the dealership I thought, ooo this has a little bit of go in it. I had to remind myself as well that the car only weighs 976 KG, so it did not have a lot of car to move around.

In the city the Picanto is a dream to drive, it’s so nimble and agile that you can drive with confidence in some of the tighter areas in town and not have to worry. The steering was so direct you could navigate the multi storey car parks with ease and due to its size was so easy to park. The parks in Wellington that you feel you have to get just right to make sure you’re within the lines were made to feel big again.

Due to how short it is the Kia does go fairly deep into the car parks which is good as it is out of the way but also can be funny as you can see people who from the end of a row of parked cars think it’s a free spot but then get to it and are cursing your tiny car. Now normally I am one of those people but it was nice to be on the other side for once.

Getting out of the city onto the motorway, I will admit I was a little wary at first, as I have been in other small cars that can feel like they are going to blow over. But the Picanto was good; yes, you do still feel like a insect compared to some of the other cars on road, and that trucks might squash you without noticing but it was a smooth ride I always felt in control of the car and did not feel like it was going to blow away in a gust or from passing trucks.

It was able to get up to speed fairly quickly too without too much drama and did not sound like it was at the peak of its engine just to maintain 100 Km/h.

Now with such a small engine you might be thinking that it might not be too great with fuel and I would have agreed with you but it was better than I thought it was going to be. It was advertised to do 5.8L/100Km combined and after my week of driving it 7.2L/100Km, which I felt was fair considering I did do a bit more motorway driving than one might expect it to for a week anyway. It would probably come down a little more if I had had it for longer.

What’s The Competition For The 2018 Kia Picanto X Line?

Brand/Model Engine Power/
Honda Jazz RS CVT 1.5-litre i-VTEC 95kW/155Nm 5.6 359 10.6 $26,690
Suzuki Swift RS Auto 1.0-litre Petrol 82kW/160Nm 5.1 242 9.6 $25,990
Toyota Yaris ZR 1.5-litre Petrol 80kW/141Nm 6.4 347 9.6 $25,990
Kia Picanto X Line 1.25-litre Petrol 62kW/122Nm 5.8 255 9.4 $21,490
Mitsubishi Mirage 1.2-litre Petrol 58kw/102Nm 5.0 235 9.2 $19,990

What’s The Pros And Cons For The 2018 Kia Picanto X Line?

Pros Cons
  • Push button start
  • Comfortable seats
  • Plush carpets
  • Apple CarPlay / Android Auto
  • Great design, stylish, colour accents are great
  • Quiet on the road. Fairly smooth ride.
  • Good on fuel
  • Agile small city car, great for parking buildings
  • No side support in seats
  • Little to no room for rear passengers.
  • Armrest too far back even when seat all the way back

What Do We Think Of The 2018 Kia Picanto X Line?

The Kia Picanto X Line – although a bit small for me – is a brilliant car. The styling may not be for everyone but I felt it looked awesome, even getting compliments from some people.

Having little space in the back is a bit of a bummer but overall I felt the car was great. For such a tiny car I felt it delivered a big punch.

A true city car.

Rating – Chevron rating (4 out of 5)

2018 Kia Picanto X-Line – Specifications

Vehicle Type Compact Hatch
Starting Price $21,490 plus on-road costs
Tested Price $21,490 plus on-road costs
Engine 1.25-litre 4 cylinder DOHC MPI D-CVVT petrol
Power kW / Torque Nm 62/122
Transmission 4-speed Automatic
0 – 100 kph, seconds N/A
Spare Wheel Space Saver
Kerb Weight, Kg 976
Length x Width x Height, mm 3670 x 1625 x 1500
Cargo Capacity, litres 255 seats up
1010 seats folded
Fuel Tank, litres 35
Fuel Efficiency Advertised Spec – Combined – 5.8 L / 100km
Real World Test – Combined –  7.2 L / 100km
Low Usage: 0-6 / Medium Usage 6-12 / High Usage 12+
Towing N/A
Turning circle 9.4m
Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
Warranty 5 years/100,000km
ANCAP Rating 4 stars
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Racing games is where my love for cars started. Always wanting to play more and more realistic games until I was allowed to get behind the wheel. Combine this with my love for technology and that has made me who I am today. I love to see my two passions combining and see what technologies are being used in the latest cars.


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