Kia Picanto (2004 – 2011) Review

Kia Picanto (2004 – 2011) At A Glance


+Great value small car that is cheap to buy and run. Seven-year warranty on all new models from January 2010. Good rear passenger room. Much improved interior on facelifted cars from 2007.

-Tiny boot with the rear seats in place. Ride is unsettled on rough roads.

Insurance Groups are between 8–11
On average it achieves 80% of the official MPG figure

The Picanto may be one of Kia's older models, but until the launch of the new Picanto in 2011, it remained Kia's best selling car in the UK. Launched in 2004, it helped change the way car buyers thought about the brand - and not just because it's such good value for money and cheap to run. It's genuinely a great small car that has five-doors as standard, good handling and a practical, well built cabin. It was facelifted in 2007 with a smoother look complete with rounder headlights, but the big changes came inside where the cabin was given a major overhaul and is now far better.

Of course, value for money remains a key strength and the Picanto list prices manage to undercut most other small cars, particularly when you take into account standard equipment levels. Features such as a CD stereo and electric windows are standard while all models (apart from the base version) get air conditioning. It's pretty refined too with comfortable seats and decent sound insulation - there's even a useful boot.

On the road it's safe and easy to drive, rather than entertaining, but it does at least manage to cope in all conditions. Obviously it's most at home in town and city driving, thanks to its small size and light steering, but it isn't overawed by motorways and will happily cruise along at 70mph all day long with no fuss. There are just two petrol engines available - a 1.0-litre and a 1.1-litre - both of which are economical and quiet on the move. A diesel was expected to be introduced but never arrived, however considering how frugal the petrols are it's no surprise.

If you buy new Picanto you'll also get a great seven year/100,000 mile warranty which replaced the previous three year/60,000 mile one. This not only gives good peace of mind should anything go wrong, but it can also be transferred to subsequent owners - a great selling point on the second hand market.

Kia Picanto 2004 Road Test

Real MPG average for a Kia Picanto (2004 – 2011)


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

35–55 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.

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Ask Honest John

What's the best car for a learner for £2500?

"What's the best secondhand car I can get for a learner? Budget £2500. "
For a learner driver we would suggest a hatchback with a small engine to keep running costs as low as possible. We would suggest looking at cars like the Kia Picanto, Hyundai i10, Toyota Aygo and Nissan Micra, all of which would be available within your budget.
Answered by David Ross

We want a small car for less than £2000. What advice would you give to a clueless buyer?

"We need a second car for local trips (the school run, popping to the shops etc - no long motorway journeys). I don't want to spend more than £2000 and I've narrowed it down to three (I think), all with full service history and falling around 2008-2010. They are Toyota Aygos 1.0-litre (mileage 45-79k); Hyundai i10 1.1 or 1.2 (mileage 44-55k); and Ford Ka (2009-10) 1.2 (50k or 84k). My head says Hyundai. What advice would you give to a clueless cash car buyer?"
At this price point, it's best not to focus too much on searching out a particular model. Keep an open mind and seek out a good car for sale locally. You might find a hidden gem – a car that's been well cared for, being sold by an honest private seller and for a good price. Evidence of regular maintenance is desirable (although don't necessarily expect a fully-stamped service book), as is a long MoT test. We'd generally advise avoiding trade sellers at this price range – there are quite a few unscrupulous sellers shifting cheap cars that have been plucked from auction and are fit for scrap. That said, you might find a reputable dealer selling a good car that's been taken in part-exchange. The Hyundai i10, Kia Picanto and Toyota Aygo (as well as the very similar Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1) are all good choices that'll be cheap to run, although their popularity with young drivers pushes prices up. You could also look at the slightly bigger Ford Fiesta – the 1.25-litre engine is very reliable and there are loads about (so you can be picky about condition).
Answered by Andrew Brady

What automatic car should I replace my old Kia Picanto with?

"I'm looking to replace my 2005 Kia Picanto (automatic) with something similar, but more up to date. My budget is up to £8000 and a torque converter would be preferred. I'm only doing 4000 miles a year. Any recommendations?"
It might seem like the obvious choice but another Kia Picanto would be a really good option. There aren't many small cars available with good torque-converter autos, but the Picanto is one of them. Your budget will get you a good 2015 or 2016 example. Also consider the very similar Hyundai i10 or, if you'd prefer something a little bigger, a Hyundai i20 or Vauxhall Corsa.
Answered by Andrew Brady

Can I report a dealer for selling a car at a rip off price?

"How much should I pay for a 2008 Kia Picanto automatic with 17,000 miles? I am being told that these are like gold dust and I fear people are willing to pay over the odds. One has just been sold by a garage for £4665 - a 2009 model with 45,000 miles on clock. If this is a rip off should they be reported?"
That's an extortionate amount of money for an old Picanto. I'd suggest you look elsewhere. You can't report a dealer for asking high prices, though. We wouldn't pay much more than £1500 privately, even with low miles.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Kia Picanto (2004 – 2011) cost?