The 2020 Kia Picanto has arrived

Kia’s updated 2020 Picanto has arrived in South Africa

Way back in 2003 a company called Kia launched a small car, a very small car, called the Picanto. The piquant Picanto took South Africa by storm, cementing Kia as a household name. Originally aimed at students and first-time buyers the Picanto became a massive sales success, now the clientele arc is wider to include downgraders, retirees and city dwellers and the 2020 Kia Picanto has something for everyone.

Fast forward 16 years and the Picanto is still selling like hot cakes in the face of stiff competition. Plenty has changed over the last decade-and-a-half for the Picanto and 2020 sees changes to the model line-up. Kia has reduced the number of options on offer, taking key features from discontinued lines and offering them as standard instead.

2020 Kia Picanto START

Let’s START at the very beginning

The entry-level Kia Picanto Start has healthy competition from Renault, Datsun and Hyundai, who have both upped the tech features and addressed the safety concerns with their latest releases for the Kwid, Go and Atos respectively. Kia is seeing their offerings and raising the stakes. The Picanto Start gets an airbag for the passenger bringing total airbags to two, ABS brakes, along with ISOfix child seat anchorage points. A big feature on the Start is the adjustable steering column, not generally an option on entry-level cars in this class. There’s entertainment aux and USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity and two speakers. Remember, this is just the opening offer for the Picanto.

The Picanto Start will only be powered by the familiar 1.0-litre petrol engine producing 49 kW and 96 Nm, all of it kept on the tar by 13-inch steel wheels (the ones that have plastic hub caps). You can get it either as a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic option.

STREET smarts

The Picanto Street builds on the Start spec, adding plenty of technological, convenience and safety features. There are electric windows all-round, steering-wheel-mounted controls to work the new 8-inch touchscreen infotainment unit, with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The side mirrors are electrically heated for the 2020 spec and there’s the remote central locking with an alarm.

In the Street spec-line there are two-engine options, the aforementioned 1.0-litre 49 kW options or the 1.2-litre 61 kW engine. Unlike 2017 where the Street model was only a 5-speed manual, you can now get either engine with the 4-speed automatic too. The Street gets upsized 14-inch steel wheels with a new design for the plastic cover.

A well-appointed interior for the entry-level Kia Picanto START

STYLE for miles

The Style builds on the Street spec sheet, adding a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear lever. Keeping things stylish, the turn indicators are integrated into the side mirrors, which can electronically fold in, the way the ‘fancy’ cars do.

A SMART cookie

The top of the range Picanto Smart brings everything it has to the party, offering options that the competitors can’t beat. It gets LED daytime running lights, sporty alloy wheels (the expensive kind) and the sunroof is now standard, no longer an optional extra. Kia has decided to remove the park distance control beepers and associated reverse camera from the Smart line, you can order them as an optional extra. The engine on offer will be the 1.2-litre 61 kW only.

2020 KIA Picanto START - rear

Our guess is whatever headstart the competition may have gotten launching their products last in 2019 won’t last long, Kia is offering the Picanto as an automatic option in every single spec-line, there’s a 2-year/30 000 km service plan and a 5-year warranty plan with Roadside Assistance.

Kia Picanto 2020 pricing

KIA Picanto 1.0 START Manual                 R167 995

KIA Picanto 1.0 START Automatic          R181,995

KIA Picanto 1.0 STREET Manual              R179 995

KIA Picanto 1.0 STREET Automatic        R193 995

KIA Picanto 1.2 STREET Manual               R188 995

KIA Picanto 1.2 STREET Automatic        R202 995

KIA Picanto 1.0 STYLE Manual                  R189 995

KIA Picanto 1.0 STYLE Automatic           R203 995

KIA Picanto 1.2 STYLE Manual                 R198 995

KIA Picanto 1.2 STYLE Automatic           R212 995

KIA Picanto 1.2 SMART Manual               R219 995

KIA Picanto 1.2 SMART Automatic        R 233 995


Images: MotorPress