F1 tech in a big, seven-seat Swedish SUV? You'd better believe it...
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The Top Gear car review:Kia Picanto
For:Improved looks, roomy interior, good handling, running costs and THAT warranty
Against:Could do with more power, of course
What is it?
The latest iteration of Kia’s smallest car, the Picanto, may be maturing as it enters its third generation, but it’s also getting younger - if you catch our drift.
Topping the range is a sportier looking version called the Picanto GT Line, which hopes to capitalise on some of the petrolhead interest generated by the rear-drive Stinger GT. After all, Kia can’t be outdone by its sister company, Hyundai, with its forthcoming N performance models.
Naturally, Kia isn’t quite ready to drop a flame-spitting 200bhp engine into its smallest car, so for now, the Picanto GT Line only gets the look of a sporty little supermini with a few modest tech changes.
Still, it sits on an all-new chassis, and while the 2017 Picanto is the same length as the previous model (3,595mm), it undoubtedly has an improved stance. Kia has achieved this by reducing the length of the front and rear overhangs while stretching the wheelbase by 15mm. Granted, that’s not a massive increase, but the overall result is a car that sits much better on the road and creates a little more space inside for passengers.
For the GT line, there are bespoke alloy wheels which fill the arches nicely, giving the car a bigger chance of getting a second glance than any Picanto before it. Helping with that, the front end includes on-trend ‘air curtain’ intakes in the bumper that help channel air through the wheel arches to aid the aerodynamics. Not so sure how much of an effect that will have on your daily commute, but let’s face it: looking good matters a lot to buyers in this segment of the market.
And interior ambience is also gaining importance, as owners realise they spend more time looking at the inside of their cars than the outside. The Picanto’s, especially in GT Line specification, is more interesting than most. It feels more grown-up too, thanks to a free-standing infotainment system and well-sized multifunction steering wheel.
You can even have it with flashes of red on the seats if you’re feeling particularly daring. Thankfully, there’s also good passenger space in the rear, helped by doors that provide wide apertures easing access.