Category: Kia

The New KIA Picanto

KIA Picanto

New KIA Picanto Driven Review

To many, the big and burly Range Rover Sport SVR currently in my basement is the ideal “dream car” with its high driving position, head-turning looks and thunderous soundtrack to accompany all 405 of its force fed kilowatts. However, the idea of running around in it on a daily basis is somewhat terrifying when one considers the indicated 42 l/100km fuel consumption figure I managed between my apartment and the highway. That’s not a typo – 42, as in 21 + 21 ….

KIA Picanto

It is at this point then, that I start to hear the murmuring voice of sensible John in the back of my head, reminding me of usable power and practicality and realistic blah blah blah. The fact of the matter is this – YOU DO NOT NEED A RANGE ROVER FOR YOU AND YOUR GYM BAG!

This brings me to the KIA Picanto, the sensible bastion of all things small, frugal and good valuey. “You made that word up” shouts a font of knowledge in the background, and yes, I did, but it’s done as much harm as KIA has by packing sturdy build quality and appealing design into the all-new Picanto – none! From the not too radically different exterior design to the interior consisting of materials bordering on premium, the entire package is a master class in the sub-B Segment and proves that you don’t need to spend silly money on a stylish and “nice” car that will get you and some things from A to B, wherever those A and B might B.

KIA Picanto

Rather cleverly, we were forced (yes forced) to drive the previous generation KIA Picanto to Philadelphia (in the Cape amen) where we would then exchange the old for the new, a back-to-back comparison if you will. Immediately, it was noted that the tactile quality of everything has improved drastically. Add to this the impressive NVH( Noise, Vibration and Harshness Technology), especially for this segment, and mature road manners and what you have is, by far, the best car in its segment. Interestingly, it’s boot is just 1-litre smaller than that of the Hyundai Grand i10 which competes in the segment above, and KIA are hoping that with competitive pricing and the good old “bums in seats” principle, they are going to capture some of that larger B Segment.

The motor lineup remains unchanged with the 1.0-litre (49 kW/95 N.m) and 1.2-litre (61 kW/122 N.m) petrol motors still the only options, although some fettling and tweaking has been done to further improve what are already perfectly suitable motors. South Africa might be lucky enough to see a little turbo motor somewhere in this Picanto’s lifetime, too… The 1.0-litre variant wasn’t available on the launch, but the 1.2-litre 4-cylinder motor was more than capable of hauling the snazzy little KIA Picanto around the streets of Cape Town and around the Cape Countryside.

KIA Picanto

Pricing is hugely competitive (R134 995 – R195 995) and makes one wonder why some of the competitors have similarly priced or more expensive products with worse quality and specification, although KIA’s have always been known for their lovely standard spec offering.

Four models are on offer – Start, Street, Style and Smart, and the cheapest model still comes standard with Bluetooth connectivity and a driver’s airbag. No ABS, however…
Mid-range vehicles receive other wonderful luxuries such as ABS, electric windows and another airbag and those with not so much money but the urge to splurge get foldy mirrors, a 7-inch touch screen infotainment system, leather here and there and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, amongst others. There are also three automatic models, which can be had in Style trim with a 1.2-litre motor or 1.0-litre motor and Start trim with the 1.2-litre motor.

KIA Picanto Pricing in South Africa

Picanto 1.0 START Manual –    R134 995
Picanto 1.0 STREET Manual –  R149 995
Picanto 1.0 STYLE Manual –     R159 995
Picanto 1.0 STYLE Auto –          R172 995
Picanto 1.0 SMART Manual –   R179 995

Picanto 1.2 START Manual –   R150 995
Picanto 1.2 START Auto –        R163 995
Picanto 1.2 STREET Manual – R165 995
Picanto 1.2 STYLE Manual –    R175 995
Picanto 1.2 STYLE Auto –         R188 995
Picanto 1.2 SMART Manual –  R195 995

New Kia Rio launches in South Africa

New Kia Rio

New Kia Rio Launches in South Africa

Having gone from strength to strength since its introduction in 2000, the KIA Rio has firmly cemented itself as a very serious contender in the B segment. Never a bad product, the Rio always stood for reliability and value for money, but up until the third generation, had the appeal of a flip flop in p. Thanks in part to Peter Schreyer, however, Rio 3.0 took the world by storm and aside from the “adequate” engine line up offered in South Africa, proved to be the first worthy contender to Volkswagen’s near flawless Polo. The world said “wow” and KIA said… “wow”, but in Korean of course.


5 years on, we have welcomed the all-new KIA Rio to local shores and immediately one can tell that they’ve toned it down. Clearly a “broader appeal” is what they are going for here, but that’s a bit like downgrading from a runway model to “Dora the Explorer” because she has a “broader appeal.” That doesn’t mean she’s nice, in every sense of the word…


Is it an improvement?

Thankfully, the good news is that the new Rio is quite nice. It’s neither revolutionary nor repugnant, it’s just handsome. Where significant changes have been made, however, are under the bonnet. Well, not quite – the same insipid and dreary engines as before remain, with less power can you believe it?! But torque is available earlier which should aid drivability etc. The 1.2-litre (62 kW and 120 N.m) and 1.4-litre (74 kW and 135 N.m) Kia motors are old, but dependable, so supposed they have that going for them, just like Dora.



Great attention to detail has been paid to the Rio and this is something that can be felt in the drive. The ride is most certainly firmer, perhaps in a quest to chase a ‘sporty’ drive. It is, however, a bit less wallowy than its predecessor and that’s a good thing – it’s an attribute that suits the Rio. 

Attention has also been directed towards the interior cabin and is now well appointed and thankfully no longer reeks of eau de KIA. As usual, it has all the safety things and a welcomed addition is the slightly larger infotainment screen.

KIA has managed to keep the pricing almost unchanged from the previous model thanks to a favourable exchange rate. This is also packaged nicely with KIA’s 5 year/unlimited km warranty and 4 year/60 000 km service plan.

Pricing is as follows:

  • 1.2 LS – R219 995

    1.4 LX – R234 995

    1.4 EX – R249 995

    1.4 Tec – R274 995