Johannesburg - The Kia Picanto has always been a solid offering at the budget end of the market, but the base model has drawn criticism for lacking some basic safety features.
That changes with the 2020 specification upgrade for the Korean hatchback, with the entry-level Start models now receiving a passenger airbag and ABS brakes as standard. Previously only a driver’s side airbag was fitted. As before, other standard features on the start include air conditioning and an audio system with Bluetooth connectivity.
However, the 1.2-litre engine option falls away for the Start base model, although the 61kW unit is still available on other spec grades. That means Kia’s 1-litre unit, with 49kW and 96Nm, is your only option if you’re buying the Start, although you can choose between a five-speed manual and four-speed automatic gearbox.
The second cheapest model in the Picanto range, the Street spec grade, has also been given a spec upgrade, with Kia’s 20cm touchscreen infotainment system now fitted as standard. The unit is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other spec gains come in the form of electric windows front and rear, and electric (plus heated) side mirrors. These features come in addition to the amenities that were already fitted as standard, such as remote central locking, height-adjustable driver’s seat and audio controls on the steering wheel.
Also getting a spec boost are the Style and Smart range-toppers. The former gains a leather-covered steering wheel and mirror-mounted indicators. As before, the Style is fitted with 14-inch alloy wheels.