The new Kia Picanto X-Line brings funky SUV-like styling to a winning formula. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE
The new Kia Picanto X-Line brings funky SUV-like styling to a winning formula. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE

There’s a new member in Kia’s entry-level Picanto range in the form of the X-Line specification, a cute hatch with crossover ambitions.

Significant enhancements that identify it from the rest of the Picanto range include a wider and angrier-looking front bumper with sportier accoutrements such as a redesigned tiger nose grille and LED headlights.

At the rear it has been retouched with a bumper with skid plate detailing and LED rear lights, while black body cladding and mud guards complete the faux SUV look. The new model also gains a new paint choice in Astro grey to make it 10 palette choices. There’s the option of a sunroof.  

It is mechanically unchanged from the regular Picanto, with a 1.2l petrol engine producing 61kW and 122Nm driving the front wheels. You can have it with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic.

Kia SA CEO Gary Scott says the Picanto is the most premium product in its segment, with surfaces that are pleasing to the eye and touch.

He’s not overselling it. The deceptively spacious Picanto cabin exudes high-grade build quality. Features include the floating digital command screen, two-tone pseudo leather upholstery, a 20.3cm colour touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration and a reverse camera.

Safety is provided by ABS brakes, dual front airbags and Isofix child seat points.

One of the finest interiors in the small hatch segment can be found in the Kia Picanto. Picture: SUPPLIED
One of the finest interiors in the small hatch segment can be found in the Kia Picanto. Picture: SUPPLIED

The drive experience, which took place in Pretoria, was a sparkling example at this price point. It’s solid and refined and its mechanical reflexes impressive in town or on highways.

The small dimensions make it an easy steer in urban areas and the manual version I drove didn’t feel like a burden.

Just don’t expect to drive it off-road. Blame it on its unchanged ground clearance of 151mm. This is not much of a chink in its armour because it’s always been a practical urban runabout and no amount of crossover Botox can change this. Its upcoming Kia Sonet cousin should cover this ground well enough.    

Kia SA has also announced small changes to the rest of the Picanto range. Though they don’t benefit from the stylish new face of the X-Line, they now have specification changes.

The Street models are updated with a 20.3cm infotainment system with rear-view camera, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, while the Picanto Style boasts new alloy wheels. All Picanto models come standard with a five-year/unlimited km warranty

PRICING

Picanto 1.2 Manual X-Line — R237,995

Picanto 1.2 Automatic X-Line — R251,995

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