The Kia Picanto has proved a popular choice for old and young drivers for nearly 15 years now, and has risen to great success with Kia proving itself as a genuine mainstream brand.
The latest Picanto hit showrooms in 2017, based on a new platform and offering “class-leading” practicality.
To extend the model’s appeal even further, Kia has now added a rugged-looking X-Line trim to the range, and to take advantage of the lucrative crossover market, The Picanto X-Line is Kia’s first attempt at a jacked-up city car, following in the wake of Dacia, Vauxhall and Fiat that each have their own little supermini crossovers.
The X-Line might just look like a higher up version of the Picanto, but there’s a little more to it than that. Unlike rivals, it is actually wider and longer than the standard car. Other differences include ‘SUV-style’ front and rear bumpers, lime green highlights to the exterior and interior, and a lengthy equipment list that also includes autonomous emergency braking fitted as standard.
The Picanto X-Line is only available with a 1.25-litre petrol engine, which produces 83bhp and 122Nm of torque – a lower powered 1.0-litre unit is available on lesser specs. You have the option of having it with either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic gearbox. We drove the former.
It’s brilliant around town, and while it doesn’t feel rapid – its 0-60mph time of 11.6 seconds should be adequate enough for most driving. It also has a top speed of 107mph.
Away from the city the Picanto isn’t in its comfort zone – with its five-speed gearbox meaning it sits at 3000rpm at motorway speeds. While not designed for motorway driving, it feels perfectly stable on them, but because of its high-revving engine fuel economy will suffer.
As for running costs, Kia claims the X-Line will return 61.4mpg and 106g/km of CO2 on the combined cycle. However, we struggled to get it anywhere near this claimed figure - averaging around 42mpg over a mix of roads.Save money on a new Kia Picanto today
Ride and handling
The Picanto X-Line is ideal around town, with its tight turning circle and light steering being a huge help on narrow streets and when parking.
It’s not exactly fast but it’s surprisingly enjoyable to drive as it handles well with minimal body roll. It is good fun to throw into corners, too, as it gives you the confidence that you won’t end up in a hedge around the other side.
Interior and equipment
While the X-Line’s interior is not quite as lairy as the exterior, it’s good to see some of its flair has made its way into the cabin. Differences over the standard model include white and green detailing on the door cards and lime green stitching on the flat-bottomed steering wheel, gear lever gaiter and armrests – just enough to set it apart from the standard car.
Interior quality has tough competition living up to the standard of the Volkswagen Up!, but everything feels well-built - The seven-inch touchscreen is intuitive and comes with features including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
As the Picanto is a city car, don’t expect MPV levels of space. However, Kia claims the Picanto offers class-leading boot space, and with a 255-litre boot it is unusually spacious for a car of this size.
The X-Line is very well-equipped, with standard equipment including Bluetooth, automatic air-conditioning, keyless entry and faux leather upholstery.
On the exterior you get the X-Line styling pack, LED daytime running lights and 16-inch alloy wheels. The safety kit fitted is also impressive for such a small car, with features including autonomous emergency braking, hill start assist, and electronic stability control.
The X-Line range starts from £12,600 for the manual or £650 more for an automatic transmission, and it comes very well-equipped for that price.
With the X-Line, Kia has created a unique trim level - offering standard equipment that’s only available on the range-topping car.
The X-Line’s styling touches only set you back a few hundred pounds more than the similarly equipped GT Line grade, too - while a range topping GT Line S model is available for £14,000.
The Kia Picanto is a charming little city car, and the X-Line trim adds quirky rugged styling that looks smart and will no doubt appeal to many buyers that want the looks and style of a crossover, without adopting the size of one.
As a city car, it is hard to fault. It’s nimble, well-equipped and big on safety, and should be very near the top of your small car shopping list for all those reasons.
And if the X-Line’s vibrant styling is a bit outlandish for you, you can save yourself a few hundred pounds and go for the equally impressive standard Picanto.Find great Kia Picanto deals here
Base price: £12,600
Model (as tested): Kia Picanto X-Line 1.25-litre manual
Price (as tested): £13,460
Engine: 1.25-litre petrol engine
Max speed: 107mph
0-60mph: 11.6 seconds