New baby Kia is bigger and better in just about every respect.
New baby Kia is bigger and better in just about every respect.
The well-equipped range starts at just R99 995.
The well-equipped range starts at just R99 995.

Kia's Picanto is already a well-known name in the most impoverished end of the car market and though it's earned a reputation for providing cheap and effective transportation, it's unlikely that many people have ever bought one because they “simply want one.”

The all-new version aims to change that with its funkier design and more refined overall package, but this luckily hasn't come at the expense of affordability, the new model coming out at the same price level as its smaller predecessor - R99 995 to be precise.

As mentioned, the new Picanto is bigger than before - 60mm longer and with a wheelbase extended by 15mm, it offers more passenger space and luggage volume has increased by 27 percent to 200 litres.

Another big departure from the previous model is its more mature and somewhat more dramatic styling that falls slap bang into line with the latest Kia family and some of its funkier offerings like the new Sportage and Soul.

The baby Kia has also done some growing beneath the bonnet, now offering the same two petrol engine choices as its Hyundai i10 sibling, including a larger 1.2-litre unit.

The most affordable versions are powered by a new 1-litre, three-cylinder DOHC motor with continuously variable valve timing and it offers decent outputs for its size with 51kW available at 6200rpm and 94Nm at 3500rpm.

The similarly endowed 1.2-litre four-cylinder offers strong performance for the price, with 65kW on tap at 6000rpm and 120Nm from 4000rpm. Both engines are available with either a five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic.

Economy and low emissions are big buzzwords with both engines, Kia claiming combined fuel consumption ranging between 4.9 and 6.0 litres per 100km and CO2 emissions between 117g/km and 144g/km. As a further bonus, Kia has added a gearshift indicator to the driver's instrumentation, the little device designed to help you save fuel.

Let's take a walk through the range: The cheapest derivative is simply called the '1.0' and despite its sub-R100K price tag, still comes with air conditioning, power steering, an iPod-compatible CD/MP3/USB sound system, keyless entry, height-adjustable steering wheel and a driver-side airbag.

For a little extra, the 1.0 LX adds a passenger airbag, front electric windows, Automatic Light Control with escort and welcome home function, driver seat and seatbelt height adjuster and passenger seat undertray.

The range-topping 1.2 EX not only brings a performance advantage, but also adds ABS brakes, 14-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured, electrically operated and heated door mirrors, multi-function steering wheel, rear electric windows, additional silver accents in the cabin, a Bluetooth hands-free phone system and leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearknob.

Given what's on offer here, the prices appear to offer exceptional value and as you'd expect from Kia, all models are sold with a five-year/100 000km warranty.

PRICING:

1.0 - R99 995

1.0 LX - R107 995

1.0 Auto - R109 995

1.2 EX - R114 995

1.0 LX Auto - R117 995

1.2 EX Auto - R124 995