Kia Picanto Review 2022

Kia Picanto At A Glance


+Surprisingly spacious cabin. Very good fun to drive. Affordable pricing.

-Seats don't fold flat. Boot is small. Tyre repair kit instead of a spare wheel.

New prices start from £11,950
Insurance Groups are between 1–5
On average it achieves 76% of the official MPG figure

The Kia Picanto is affordably-priced, well-equipped, surprisingly practical and great fun to drive, making it a better buy than its rivals from Peugeot, Citroen and Toyota and a strong alternative to the Volkswagen Up and its counterparts from SEAT and Skoda.

It’s not exactly a quick car, but whether equipped with the 1.0-litre or 1.25-litre petrol options, the Picanto is great fun. The base engines are not turbocharged, but they are revvy while the slick gearchange and light, nimble handling make it easy to drive in town and give it loads of personality on a B-road, where it provides surprising grip. 

It will cruise at motorway speeds too, though if you want to pass any slow-coaches you’ll need to plan ahead. Wind and road noise are noticeable too, but no more so than in rival small cars while official economy is more than 60mpg for most models, so fuel bills shouldn’t be too steep.

Inside, the material quality is strong and sturdy if not especially plush – but it’s easy to get comfortable and there’s a surprising level of space. The back row will seat adults in a decent level of comfort, with reasonable leg and headroom – though this is at the expense of boot space.

The load area is only really suitable for a small shopping trip. It’s not particularly generous at 255 litres – but it also has a high load lip so getting anything other than a shopping bag in and out is a bit of a fiddle. Folding the rear seats down frees up plenty of space, but they don’t form a flat load deck.

If you want a small, fun, affordable car the Picanto is probably the next best thing after a Volkswagen Up. But, if that having that German badge on the front of your car doesn’t bother you, then you’ll find the Picanto is fun to drive, affordably priced, cheap to run and does everything you’d hope a small car should do.

Real MPG average for a Kia Picanto


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

27–56 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

Satisfaction Index

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Ask Honest John

What is the safest small car?
"What would be the safest small car to buy, Fiat 500 size? "
The smallest cars (classed as city cars) generally have lower Euro NCAP safety ratings than larger models, but it's often more due to the reduced level of driver-assist technology rather than their crash test scores. This is done to keep the price low. We'd avoid the Fiat 500 in petrol form as it has below average adult and child occupant protection scores, but the new electric 500e has decent ratings. Pretty much every other city car has a three star Euro NCAP rating, which is acceptable, but the Seat Mii/VW Up/Skoda Citigo models all have good occupant protection scores. The latest Kia Picanto also scores well, particularly with the optional safety pack, as does the Smart ForFour. If ultimate safety matters, though, larger models like the latest VW Polo and Skoda Fabia have top five star ratings.
Answered by Lawrence Allan
Can you recommend a first car?
"I am wondering what first cars are good for a student, which are enjoyable to drive, look reasonably stylish and wouldn't cause my insurance to be above £1,200 per year."
A Ford Fiesta could be a good option. They're great to drive, cheap to run and there are loads about (so you can be picky when searching for a used example). Alternatively, consider a small city car like the Kia Picanto or Volkswagen Up. This guide might be useful:
Answered by Andrew Brady
Can you recommend a first car for a teenager?
"What are the best first cars for a teenage driver?"
We'd recommend a Kia Picanto. Look for an older second-hand example – around £8000 will get you a three-year-old example of the latest model with the frugal 1.0-litre engine and the remainder of its manufacturer warranty. If your teenager would prefer something a little bigger, look for a Ford Fiesta or SEAT Ibiza.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Which engine should I choose for the Kia Picanto?
"I drive a Hyundia i20 2011, it's small, compact, great on space, fuel economy and I love it. It's great on the motorways and in the city. The problem is the rust underneath. I now need to start to look for another car and need something similar. Bhp would be the deciding factor for my next car. I need the same as what I have or above. I'm currently looking at the Kia Picanto, earliest model 2018-2022. I'm finding all the info on the different models baffling - too many engine size choices. Can you suggest which ones to test drive and which one to avoid? Also, I would like whichever car I buy to be undersealed due to the state my other car looks underneath. Do you have any advice on getting the car undersealed i.e. price, how long would I expect it to last and is it worth doing? "
The T-GDi is the engine I would go for – it's got lots of punch for a small car, but is also very good on fuel. The rest aren't so pokey. Also worth looking at the new Hyundai i10 – it launched in 2020 so it's a newer design than the Kia and is available with the same engine. Reviews of both below: Getting your car Waxoiled by a garage will cost about £350 and it will last several years, depending on use. I'd recommend shopping around for a garage that gets good reviews. Have never done it myself so can't recommend anyone.
Answered by Russell Campbell
More Questions

What does a Kia Picanto cost?