August 10, 2018
NOWADAYS, if you’re in the market for a RM50,000 car, most will probably say look no further than the Perodua Myvi or the Proton Iriz but there are options.
Enter the Kia Picanto 2018 that was launched earlier this year. What makes this car so special is that it is the only non-national car that is set to compete with the class-leading Myvi.
Let’s start with how it looks. I feel that it looks cute and funky, albeit a bit pedestrian. It obviously looks small because it is small, but Kia manages to fit-in a cool looking U-shaped LED daytime running lights (DRL) in the front and LED signal indicators.
The LED trend continues at the back of the car, where a new LED-combination lamp is located. There’s a reverse camera too.
At the side is where things get a little less interesting. There’s only one type of wheels offered and that is the 14-inch alloys. The previous Picanto had better wheel design, not to mention an inch bigger.
Under the bonnet houses a 1.2 litre Kappa II naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine that makes 84 PS at 6,000 rpm and 122 Nm at 4,000 rpm mated a four-speed automatic transmission.
Yes, it sounds under-powered but I’m happy to report that is not the case most of the time but more on that later.
Safety is commendable. The Picanto is equipped with six airbags, anti-lock braking system, electronic braking distribution, brake assist and stability control. However, it does falls short of Perodua’s latest offering in the top variant 1.5 Myvi which includes autonomous emergency braking.
While it may look a bit pedestrian on the outside, the cabin tells a different story. Dare I say it looks upmarket and above its class. The first thing that caught my eyes was the seven-inch touch screen head unit.
Combined with a comfortable fabric seat and an overall good fit and finish, the cabin is a good place to be in and that is very important considering that you will be spending quite a lot of your time in the car.
However, it’s not all good. The car only comes with one USB port at the front and none at the back. Seriously Kia? It’s 2018 and I’m sure many of us will not be satisfied with just one. Also, there is no auto air-conditioning function.
Yet another weak point is its practicality. There’s just no running away from the fact that it is a small car. The driver’s seat, once adjusted to my 175cm height, barely leaves enough legroom for occupants at the back. Headroom is however ample as expected.
But driving the Picanto is easy, especially in the city. This is where it’s small size and light steering shine.
Its small body means it doesn’t need a big engine, making the 1.2 litre engine a sound choice. The car does not feel under powered save for a few moments when you floor the pedal to do high speed overtaking or go above 140 km/h.
Refinement level is up there with the Honda City, with tyre noise and wind noise suppressed even at national speed limit. The refinement continues with the engine. Cruising at national speed limit is a pleasant affair with minimal engine noise and only through hard acceleration does the engine make itself heard.
Handling is pretty average, nothing to shout about. It’s nimble and easy to handle but you won’t be taking this car out on the weekend to tackle corners.
Moving on to the ride comfort, this is where the Picanto shines. It is so comfortable that I dare say the Picanto has no rival under the RM50,000 price tag. Low speed bumps, road irregularities, potholes, you name it. The Picanto soaks it all up as though it is a proper C-segment sedan.
It is fuel efficient too. The on-board trip meter shows that for 200km of in-city driving, the car manages to get a respectable 15.8 km per 1 lire of fuel.
This means that with a full tank of 35L this car can go about 553km on a single tank. Mind you, that is if you do mostly city driving with peak hours jam and all. Highway travelling may give you an even better reading.
Like what you read so far? Now let me share you the best reason why this car is worth your consideration if you can only afford to spend RM50,000.
With the zero-rating of GST this car will only set you back about RM47,000. That’s only about RM1,500 more than the Myvi 1.3 Premium X and you get a huge 7-inch touchscreen with Apple Carplay and Android Auto support, a more premium cabin, better ride and handling and also a premium level of refinement.
Watch out Myvi, you’ve got a new challenger.