Kia Picanto (2011 – 2017) Review

Kia Picanto (2011 – 2017) At A Glance


+Excellent small car for the money. High quality and neatly designed interior. Great to drive and cheap to run.

-Noisy on the motorway. Three-door 'Halo' automatic is pricey.

Insurance Groups are between 2–12
On average it achieves 74% of the official MPG figure

The Picanto may be Kia's smallest car but it's probably its most important model. The compact five-door hatchback has been the brand's best selling car for the last seven years and is one of the best small motors around offering great value for money. The second generation Picanto grows up with a sleeker style, more space and a higher quality interior.

It's a big step forward from the original Picanto and feels as good as many larger hatchbacks, particularly from behind the wheel where it's more comfortable and refined than before. It's a great looking car too with a sharp front end and a sporty profile, yet there's been no sacrifice in terms of interior space with particularly impressive headroom for rear seat passengers.

It's fun to drive with good handling in corners, a forgiving ride and responsive steering, yet still a doddle to park and slot into tiny spaces. There are just two petrol engines in the line-up - a 1.0-litre with 68bhp and a 1.25 with 84bhp - and both are very economical yet still deliver decent performance with a perky nature. The 1.0-litre is the one to go for if you're watching the pennies - it's free to tax thanks to a CO2 output of 99g/km plus it is capable of a claimed 67.3mpg.

As is standard across all the Kia range, the Picanto comes with the unique seven-year warranty as standard - something which no other brand can match. Combined with a starting price of around £8000 this makes the new Picanto amazingly good value for money, but there's more to the Picanto than merely a low list price.

It's simply one of the best small cars around - regardless of the price tag. Alongside the five-door model, a sportier three-door version was introduced in September 2011.

Real MPG average for a Kia Picanto (2011 – 2017)


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

30–60 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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Buying a small car
"I want to buy a small used car for about £10,000. Could you make a few suggestions please. I've been looking at a Fiat 500."
Avoid the Fiat 500 – it represents style over substance with a poor reliability record and cramped interior. We'd recommend a Kia Picanto or Volkswagen Up. Also consider slightly bigger models like the Ford Fiesta.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Does my Kia Picanto 1.0 have a timing belt or chain?
"I can’t see any reference in the car manual about the replacement of the cam belt on my Kia Picanto 1.0 petrol (2015 model). Do I need to replace the cam belt at any time or does it use a chain?"
Timing chain, which is designed to last the lifetime of the car. As long as the oil is kept clean and replaced every 12 months or 12,000 miles (whichever comes first) the chain should be fine.
Answered by Dan Powell
Kia warranty expired two days ago - can I still make a claim?
"My wife's Kia Picanto has just failed its MoT due to the airbag warning light remaining on. The car is two days out of its seven-year warranty, and has 26,000 miles on the clock. I have spoken to the senior customer services manager at Kia, he was unwilling to even consider the repair under warranty. Do you have any advice that might help to persuade him/Kia to consider this specific case?"
Where was the MoT carried out? If it was at the Kia dealer that sold you the car then I'd suggest taking this up with them rather than Kia UK. The service manager at the dealer may be more sympathetic to your case and more willing to retain your business with the offer of a free or discounted repair. Ultimately, if Kia refuses to budge then there isn't a great deal you can do to force them to change their mind. This is not a common fault on the Picanto (it's the first case we've heard about). I'd recommend taking the vehicle to an independent Kia specialist. Has the car experienced a flat battery recently? If so, it may have depleted the back up battery for the airbag and it will need recharging and a master reset to correct the problem.
Answered by Dan Powell
Which cars are best for first-time drivers?
"I'm a young first-time driver who's looking for a 10 to 12-year-old car with low running costs. Insurance should be as cheap as possible and the tax possibly £20-30 a year. What cars would you advise? I do about 200 miles per month. Shall I go for petrol or diesel? Thanks in advance for your kind help."
We'd recommend a Toyota Aygo. It'll be dirt cheap to run and ought to be reliable. Also, consider a Kia Picanto or, if you'd prefer something a little bigger, a Ford Fiesta with the reliable 1.25-litre petrol engine. Don't bother with a diesel for your mileage – it'll cost more to maintain.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Kia Picanto (2011 – 2017) cost?